ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala --Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center hosted a mass vaccination clinic at Anniston Army Depot last week. The clinic, open to ANAD employees as well as tenant employees and contractors, was held to administer vaccines to fight against the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
ANAD began offering CO-VID-19 vaccinations to its employees earlier this year; partnering with Martin Army Hospital at Fort Benning. Partnering with RMC is just another way to assist the workforce with gaining access to vaccinations. “The biggest reason for partnering with RMC was to provide more depot employees, contractors and tenant employees with an opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination,” said Johnny Whitehead, Army Community Services specialist and point of contact for the vaccination clinic.
According to Whitehead, RMC ensured that anyone who wished to receive the vaccination would have the opportunity to do so. RMC is set to return in approximately three weeks to administer the second dose of the vaccine.
Ensuring the local workforce is vaccinated is very important to fighting the spread of COVID-19 within the community. It is believed that much of the community spread of the virus is caused by daily workers. However, for many who work in production environments, vaccination sites typically offer appointments during work hours, leaving them unable to gain access to vaccination appointments.
To combat this issue, RMC partnered with 19 local industries, including ANAD, to host mass vaccination clinics at their worksites. “We’ve been working to vaccinate our community for months, starting with our 75-year-old and over and 65-year-old and over populations. Eventually, we were able to assist with over 16 thousand vaccinations in that group,” said Bridgette Magouirk, Director of Regional Medical Center Occupational Health, Wellness, Wellness Extension and Employee Health and RMC COVID response leader. “Once we’d saturated the community with vaccines through those populations, our executive team and vaccination team determined it was extremely important to focus on getting our community workforce vaccinated.”
As the largest employer in Calhoun county, Magouirk emphasized that conducting a vaccination clinic at ANAD will have a huge impact on slowing the spread of COVID-19. “A super spreader here could have a catastrophic impact; not only on our local economy but also on our local hospitals. So we are so happy to partner with ANAD to provide this opportunity for employees,” Magouirk said. “Our ultimate goal with these partnerships is to ensure the health and wellbeing of every employee.”
While there is no requirement for ANAD employees to be vaccinated, the command staff wants to ensure employees who wish to be vaccinated have an opportunity to do so.
Plans to conduct additional vaccination clinics at ANAD will be based on employee demand. “We will continue to assist employees where we can in an effort to do our part in creating community immunity,” said Whitehead.