BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: UAB announced early Thursday morning that its vaccination clinic at Parker High School will not provide walk-up vaccinations due to inclement weather.
ORIGINAL: Wednesday was Parker High School’s dry run as a mass vaccination site. About 117 people including teachers and education workers at the school received their COVID-19 vaccines and tomorrow the high school parking lot will be open for people eligible to be vaccinated.
Birmingham School Superintendent Mark Sullivan said it was important for historic Parker High School to become a mass vaccination site. “We know one of the best ways to end this pandemic is for everyone to be vaccinated.” Sullivan said.
In the back parking lot two lanes will be available for people to drive through. Drivers will go to the vaccinations tents to get their shots. Those who walk up or come by public transportation will go down marked sidewalks to the vaccination tents.
“We want to make the vaccine available to everyone who qualifies and the last thing we want to do is make it harder for people who don’t have resources to receive that vaccine,” Dr. Sarah Nafziger with UAB said.
The vaccination site at Parker High School will work on a limited schedule this week and add expanded hours next week. Most of the spots have been set but the site is still accepting appointments on their website.
UAB hopes to keep the site open as long as possible. “We want to keep these sites open and we want them running at full capacity. That is what UAB wants and all of our partners as well. Will we able to do that? I don’t know. The answer depends on how much vaccine doses we have available,” Nafziger said.
People outside of Jefferson County are also welcomed to make appointments at any of UAB’s three sites in Jefferson County.
The big problem continues to be getting people to these sites because of transportation issues and getting people to register. Those problems hoped to be addressed next week.
Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson said opening Parker High School is great but there have to be other sites that will offer vaccinations in other parts of the county. “We are going to put the clinics, the shot clinics in all locations, including Bessemer to make sure everyone has fair access to these vaccines,” Tyson said.
Tyson says various locations have been found. The commissioner says expanded transportation will be used including buses, UBER and Lyft. There will be a community effort going door to door informing the public how to register and offer help if needed.
“We will have every day people in the community knocking on doors. Putting out door knockers,” Tyson said.
Mayor Randall Woodfin said the city will be involved in getting the word out about registration for vaccines and transportation. He says COVID has affected just about everyone.