BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama health leaders are looking for ways to get more people to get shots in their arms, as the vaccination rates at Jefferson County sites have dropped dramatically.
This week UAB reported a 78% drop at four vaccinations sites. At the Watermark Place in Bessemer, the FEMA clinic can provide up to a thousand shots a day. Friday, Dr. Scott Harris said it is averaging about 130 shots a day.
Harris said vaccine hesitancy is a problem. Some just oppose getting a vaccine. Others still have questions and doubts. Harris says the door to door campaign with information is underway to get over the hesitancy. Some states are looking at incentives. West Virginia is offering $100 savings bonds.
“Just a lot of discussions need to be had and thought through if you are trying to convince somebody to make a medical decision based on your giving them cash. There are questions about that who is going to be incentivized by that and who is not going to be. I think we have a lot more to consider before we take that step,” Harris said.
Thursday Harris said the state has hit a wall when it comes to vaccinations, but he said it can be overcome with more help and information out in the community.
Many believe getting into communities is going to be next big step. Jefferson County Department of Health plans to move to smaller pop up vaccination sites in the near future.
Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson criticized the vaccine rollout saying not enough local leaders were involved in the original plan. She said that has to change now.
“The churches. The people in the school system. Community leaders. Daycares. Every aspect of a community should mobilize and educate our people on the vaccine.” Tyson said.
The head of the Birmingham City Council agreed. “We have to have a new strategy. We have to throw out the playbook we had for the first half of the game. We have to look to utilizing community centers, rec center.” William Parker said.
Both believed more community involvement and access will help. Tyson talked about people being bed ridden and can not travel to vaccine site. Parker said the Legion Field site is still drawing a lot of people but he would like to see seven day 24 hour clinics open around the city.
Alabama is now receives between 125,000 and 130,000 doses of vaccine a week. The national guard is out in rural areas. There are over 1,300 healthcare providers offering shots.