MOBILE/WASHINGTON COUNTIES, Ala. (WKRG) — The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to those in rural areas of Mobile and Washington counties — all thanks to the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians.

The tribe in Mt. Vernon received a three-year grant from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to provide the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to anyone wishing to be vaccinated.

Maggie Rivers, project director for the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, said the process to get the grant from ADPH took months, in part because the tribe is not a healthcare provider. After receiving the grant, two registered nurses were hired and have already started administering doses. Four people got their shots yesterday and another two received their first dose today.

“It felt really good to see the first person come in to be vaccinated,” Rivers said.

Two sites will be set up for administering the vaccine:

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.

The nursing staff also will be available to make home visits to homebound people as needed on Fridays.

“We’re very excited about the program,” Rivers said. “We hope we have some great turnout and get some people vaccinated.”

The vaccination clinics are open to everyone, not just tribe members.

“The purpose of our clinic here is to provide an opportunity for those wishing to take the vaccine,” Rivers said.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be forthcoming within the next few weeks. Call the tribe’s office at 251-244-3627 to make an appointment or for more information.