MOUNT VERNON, Ala. (WKRG) — Vaccine education and transportation–two challenges for rural communities in Mobile County to overcome in the fight against COVID. Members of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians have started a vaccine program with the help of a state grant. On the Mount Vernon Reservation people know it as just “the green building.” Inside is a makeshift vaccination clinic.
“We wanted to provide this service for members of our community and anyone else willing to be vaccinated,” said Project Director Maggie Rivers. Rivers says the grant from the Alabama Department of Public Health is approximately $180,000 a year for the next three years. The program started last week. They have freezers full of the Moderna vaccine and Pfizer’s on its way soon. They’ll have clinic hours here in Mount Vernon and McIntosh and Friday’s they’ll go to homes of people who want to get vaccinated, in particular seniors.
“Some people lack transportation, some of the other facilities in Mobile or Citronelle they can’t get there so we wanted to go to them,” said Rivers. They have the facility ready, they just need people to come in.
“The need is definitely here and in our community, surrounding area, we will try we are willing, we will do whatever we need to do,” said Registered Nurse Melanie Snow. Access to the vaccine can be an issue for some, another challenge is vaccine hesitancy.
“Not knowing, there are so many rumors I think the education part is the biggest barrier for not getting vaccinated,” said Snow. Right now they’re just getting the word out so the doses in these coolers can get used.
Organizers say the best way to get a shot is to call ahead. That number is 251-244-3627. The Mount Vernon and McIntosh sites are open on different days. The site at the Mt. Vernon reservation at 1080 Red Fox Road will operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. The site on the reservation at 11 J.E. Turner Circle in Mcintosh will operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.