News 5 Investigates: Unannounced COVID-19 vaccine clinic held at Mobile Cruise Terminal

News 5 Investigates

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — WKRG News 5 is investigating reports of COVID-19 vaccines being given out to “anyone” at the Mobile Cruise Terminal Wednesday, no matter which phase of the Alabama vaccine rollout they fall under.

Our crews on scene confirmed the Mobile County Health Department was giving out the vaccine to those 75 and older and first responders. However, we’ve received reports of other people getting the vaccine who do not fit that description.

WKRG News 5 is investigating why the clinic was not publicly announced, as well as why some younger people appear to have received the vaccine, while some in their 70s were turned away. We also want to know who the health department invited. Everyone WKRG News 5 spoke to got the information by word-of-mouth. However, our reporter Gabby Easterwood was asked to leave the clinic as she tried to get answers.

This comes days before the Alabama Department of Public Health says the vaccine would be available for those 75 years and older. Meanwhile, WKRG News 5 continues to receive multiple reports of callers having issues scheduling an appointment through the ADPH vaccine hotline.

Mobile County Health Department spokesperson Mark Bryant emailed a response saying, “today’s event was a closed event for those in Phase 1a. It was not open to the general public. We hope to have more information on future events coming soon.”

News 5 has spoken to several people who are not in phase 1a who did get the vaccine, and social media posts show people in their 40s who are not first responders or medical workers getting the vaccine. Phase 1a is limited to healthcare workers. However, after initially giving out the vaccine more liberally the clinic limited the vaccine to first responders and those over 75. Neither of those groups are in phase 1a. They are listed as phase 1b.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health:

“Healthcare workers in Phase 1a include, but are not limited to, emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, home healthcare personnel, physicians, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility, medical supply delivery, mortuary services, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, engineering and facilities management, administrative, billing, and volunteer personnel).

The Medical Association of the State of Alabama provides a list of vaccine clinic locations with appointment dates and times on their Resources for Physicians website and Vaccine for Providers toolkit. Healthcare workers can schedule an appointment with ADPH using our COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline at 1-855-566-5333.”

This is a developing story.

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