A Shot of Hope: EAMC vaccinating up to 1300 people each day

Alabama News

EAST ALABAMA, Ala. (WRBL) – Promising news from East Alabama Medical Center as COVID-19 vaccinations are up and hospitalizations are down heading into March. EAMC’s community mass vaccination clinic has been open for four weeks.

The clinic is a well-oiled machine of hope. Monday, the community partnership completed 1300 vaccines to thankful residents. EAMC’s supply of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine remains steady, with 30,000 doses administered so far; the clinic is an assembly line of love and life within the community.

Mother and daughter Anna Ruth Porter and Debbie Kriegh radiated joy inside the clinic as 86-year-old Anna Ruth got her vaccine. The life-saving, pandemic ending operation is happening at the old Tuesday Morning storefront next to Big Lots, across from the Auburn Mall.

“She is going to be taken care of, and she is going to last a whole lot more years,” said Kriegh.

EAMC COVID-19 Information : https://www.eamc.org/patient-and-guests/covid-19-information/

“We have 12 vaccinators doing 100 doses a day working eight-hour shifts, so they are doing one every four minutes,” said EAMC’s Director of Pharmacy, Laura Matthews. “The nursing students have been amazing. It’s just a great partnership with all three nursing schools, Tuskegee, Auburn University, and Southern Union.”

Nurses, nursing students handle screening, questions, concerns, and vaccines. Volunteers organize check-ins and perform constant sanitation on desks, tables, and chairs. EMS and firefighters monitor patients. Pharmacists prep the vaccines and remain on standby for reactions.

There is a reason to celebrate. While vaccines continue to climb, with thousands reaching full immunity daily, EAMC COVID-19 hospitalizations continue trickling down.

“We were at 26 over the weekend, which is the lowest since October of last year. We had 28 Monday. A little up, but we can handle that and still do our other cases. It’s been very steady for our hospital, and we are pleased about that considering we were at 92 just a month ago,” said EAMC Spokesperson John Atkinson.

Appointments are opening up every day to schedule a vaccine five days in advance. The best time to check the website is mid-morning. Matthews says families must help older relatives, neighbors, and friends register online, which can be tricky. Auburn and Opelika Public libraries are stepping in to help fill the gap. Residents were driving to EAMC’s Vaccine Clinic, trying to register for the vaccine because they needed help. Because of this, librarians in both Opelika and Auburn are trained to help residents register on libraries’ computers during the day.

East Alabama Medical Center, the city of Auburn, Opelika, local nursing schools, Lee County EMA, Auburn United Methodist Church, and an army of volunteers, both medical and non-medical, are joining forces to turn this pandemic around one shot at a time.

Helpers can receive a vaccine and a place in history. Auburn United Methodist Church is helping to coordinate volunteers. You can sign up at this link: VOLUNTEER

Each appointment is taking about 20 minutes, including 15 minutes of observation after you are vaccinated. You will receive your return appointment when you are there for the booster vaccine.

Register for EAMC COVID-19 Vaccine: At this time, those who fall in one of the following sub-groups are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

EMS/First Responder
Healthcare Worker
Healthcare Worker – Physician
Healthcare Worker – Physician – EAMC Employed or Privileged
Frontline Critical Workers – Daycare, Education sector, corrections officers, workers in Food and agriculture, US Postal Service, Manufacturing, grocery stores, public transit, Judiciary (including but not limited to) circuit or district judges and district attorneys
Person age between 65 and 74 years
Person age 75 years and older

Frequently Asked Questions

Location? The clinic is located at 1716 Opelika Road in Auburn—next to Big Lots and across from Auburn Mall.

What time should I arrive? Because our appointments are scheduled, there is no waiting in line upon arrival. We ask that you remain in your car until 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

What do I need to bring with me? A photo ID is required.

Can I bring my child or a guest with me? Space is limited, and only the person receiving a vaccine is permitted inside unless the recipient needs direct assistance from a caregiver.

Do I need to wear a mask? YES. Masks are required at all times and must cover your mouth and nose.

My schedule is hectic. Do I have to have an appointment, or can I just come by and wait in line? Vaccinations are by appointment only. Walk-ins are not permitted.

I heard you have leftover vaccines at the end of the day. Can I come by then? NO. There are no “leftover” doses at the end of the day—all doses are accounted for, and no doses are wasted.

VOLUNTEER INFORMATION:

The day is split into two shifts. We’ll have 12-morning slots (6:45-11) and 12-afternoon slots (11-3:30) for general volunteers to help patients through the process. Volunteers are welcome to serve in both shifts.+

There will also be four all-day check-in/check-out volunteer slots. These volunteers will use EAMC’s appointments application on a laptop to check-in/outpatients and ensure they have completed a vaccine registration questionnaire. Training will be provided on how to use the appointments application, and these volunteers will mostly be seated throughout the day.

Lunch will only be provided for volunteers serving both shifts in a single day or the all-day check-in/out shift. Volunteers serving the afternoon shift need to eat lunch before arrival. Snacks and drinks are available for all volunteers.

Rosanna McGinnis with the City of Opelika and Joe Davis with Auburn United Methodist Church are combining efforts to coordinate volunteers through the VOMO app. To volunteer, you will need to follow the link below, create an account and sign up for a shift. Because we must have so many volunteers, this single stream will condense coordination efforts and make it easier for us to make sure we are fully supporting our healthcare workers.

Currently, we are searching for February volunteers, and we will add March dates once we get farther into February. If you can commit to a single day every week or multiple half-day shifts, please feel free to sign up for as many as you can commit to.

Volunteers will be eligible to get the vaccine. We are still working with EAMC administration staff on how to send out the appointment registration link to you, but we will likely do so via the email you provide in VOMO. https://app.vomo.org/project/vaccination-site-volunteers

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