More help is on the way for first responders and senior citizens in Baldwin County. State health officials have announced plans to hold COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Daphne.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the vaccine clinics will be held at the Daphne Civic Center. The clinics will be available to healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and anyone 75 years of age or older.
Spanish Fort resident Chester McConnell, who is 79, said he and his 80-year-old wife have been eagerly awaiting a vaccine.
"It's the best thing to do. It's the best option you've got. You don't want to sit around and not take anything," said McConnell.
McConnell and his wife, like many others at high risk, have been taking no chances with their safety as local coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.
"I'm as close to someone right now as I've been to anybody in the last six or eight months. We're in excellent health, but if you get that virus, you may not be healthy very long," McConnell said.
On Wednesday, ADPH announced that its Baldwin County department is working with EMA officials to hold vaccine clinics at the Daphne Civic Center starting Tuesday, January 19.
"We have to take both doses of vaccine. And even after those two doses, it takes a couple of weeks for the body to really build immunity," said Dr. Karen Landers, Asst. State Health Officer.
Shirley Eason, a Foley resident, said she intends to get her vaccine as soon as it's available.
"This means a light at the end of the tunnel for us. I think people at our age, we think about these years as years we wanted to enjoy life and do all the things we can do," said Eason.
Eason also said she and her husband lost close friends to the virus and missed out on valuable family time.
"We had two grandchildren get married this year, and we weren't able to attend the weddings. Then there was Thanksgiving, Christmas, and just being without people. We've been without communication and that human touch," Eason said.
Health officials said walk-in and drive-thru options will be available.
According to Baldwin County EMA officials, capacity will depend on the number of vaccinators, amount of vaccine available, and health-safety practices.
"I'm glad it's happening because even though I say I'm not worried, you know, it's always on the back of your mind," said McConnell.
Health officials said vaccine clinics will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on January 19, 21, 26, and 28. No appointment is necessary, and the vaccine is free.
ADPH plans to release additional information at a press conference in Daphne on Thursday, January 14.