Hospitals in the Shoals and emergency management officials, along with the state, are all teaming up to create a rural coronavirus vaccination plan.
Helen Keller Hospital President Kyle Buchanan said while they wait for more first-round doses of vaccine, they're still planning ahead on how to vaccinate people who can't get to mass vaccination sites.
The Colbert County Emergency Management Agency said it's applied for a community block grant to possibly get mobile vaccination units, where Helen Keller employees would administer the vaccines from the mobile trailers. Buchanan said plans are in the works, but there are a lot of logistics they have to face, like keeping the vaccines cold.
"We have a certain amount of hours once the vial thaws. The clock starts and we have a few hours to get those shots in arms. That's extremely challenging when you're trying to do that in July in a community that's 30 minutes away from an ultra-cold freezer, so those are the challenges that we have to meet and find a way to build bridges to make partnerships across the community to try and meet that demand and get that help out, and we're still in the process of working through that," said Buchanan.
Lauderdale County Emergency Management said they already have two trailers and are outfitting them to take vaccines to rural areas in that county. North Alabama Medical Center employees will help give those doses out when the time comes.
Right now, the entire Shoals area just needs more vaccines in general.
Franklin County has also applied for a community block grant to get a trailer to help vaccinate rural areas, too.