OUR VIEW: Thanks for giving us the shots

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After a period where many of us were not even allowed to have a vaccine, we're happy that the gates are beginning to open up to us. 

Moreover, after not knowing where to get the vaccine for the longest, we are beginning to see efforts to make sure that the vaccine is available. Last week, Capstone Rural Health Center in Parrish scheduled drive through testing in both Walker and Winston counties. Many of us at the Daily Mountain Eagle, who are only just now being allowed to get the vaccine, signed up immediately and found the process to be quick and efficient. 

In addition, it was announced that the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Walker County Emergency Management Agency had arranged for drive-up vaccinations at the old airport in Jasper for two days this week (including today, Thursday, April 1). Enough slots were available to give a first shot to up to 2,340 people this week, with plans for the second shot on April 20 and April 22. 

Bevill State Community College also provided volunteer nurses for the effort. The Walker Area Community Foundation and Walker Co. Health Action Partnership helped with volunteer recruitment and management to assist with the clinics, from monitoring to paperwork to follow up appointments. 

Community efforts like that is what it has taken to get progress made to this point of the pandemic, at least until pharmacies are able to get more supplies. Politico recently reported that the federal government's mass-vaccination sites are only administering a fraction of the shots given each day. 

"Federal data show the retail pharmacy program - which has signed up 21 chains and 17,000 stores - can reach far more Americans in a shorter time," Politico reported from senior sources. It noted that "more Americans seem to be willing to walk to their local pharmacist to get the vaccine than to travel to a federal vaccination site for the shot." 

However, we have noted area pharmacies have many times been booked up, run out of supplies or don't have its program set up yet. More should be done to get these pharmacies helped to get to a point where they and medical clinics can have the supplies they need, as trust and convenience appear to fall with these sources. 

In the meanwhile, we want to thank those in the community for all their efforts to keep the vaccination process going as it opens up to more people. 

-- The Daily Mountain Eagle