BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There is widespread confusion and sometimes even frustration among people trying to figure out how to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Birmingham City Council’s Facebook page hosted a panel Monday evening addressing vaccine questions.
We asked Council President William Parker about vaccine equity. Parker is particularly concerned about making sure that everyone has equal opportunity to get a vaccine across the city.
Parker has been a vocal advocate for using places like rec centers as well as Legion Field to offer vaccines in places that will accommodate all 99 Birmingham neighborhoods, but of course with inadequate supplies of the vaccines so far, that has not been a reality. Instead, vaccines have been relegated to health facilities and just a few mass distribution sites, like Parker High and the Hoover Met. Parker says that making sure every corner of the city has equal access is a top priority.
“We expect, demand, it’s just the right thing to do that we have true equity in the distribution of the vaccines as we move forward,” said Parker.
Parker noted the article by Bloomberg that focused on north Birmingham and called the distribution process so far “colorblind” to a fault.
He says a plan of allocation needs to be “intentional” and account for the vulnerable populations within the Magic City.
North Birmingham is predominantly black and predominantly poor, and Alabama Regional Medical Services serves that area as a community health resource. ARMS did not receive vaccines, albeit other facilities in majority white areas did. ARMS registered as a vaccine site with the state, but as the state spread the vaccine out, it was skipped over. That will change in two weeks as the facility receives its first 400 doses, or enough to vaccinate 200 people on March 13.
Councilman Parker says that is just a start, and they will press for more.
“Whatever strategy we are developing as we ramp up the herd immunity, there needs to be a quick correctional change to make sure that we do more in the black community,” said Parker.
Christopher Mosley, spokesperson for ARMS, said they are working with the city council as well as the county commission, citing Commissioner Sheila Tyson as an essential advocate for the north Birmingham community.