Alabama A&M vaccine clinic seeing major appointment slow down

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 10:33 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The vaccine clinic at Alabama A&M University has gone from lines out the door to a near-empty clinic since it opened this Spring.

“It started out really great and we have noticed a decline over the past few weeks,” said Interim Director of Health and Counseling Calrquista Slay.

Slay said based on stories they’ve heard, they are worried about their allocation of vaccines.

“We are concerned if we do not utilize them enough that our allocation will be taken from us,” she said.

Slay said they’re going to need these doses, especially when students come back in the Fall. She said they plan to make another push to get their “youngsters” vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We definitely want to do more encouraging them and educating them about the vaccine and the risk of not being vaccinated,” Slay said.

Despite the low turnout in AAMU students, Slay said they’ve gotten a great response from the community, specifically from Black and Brown communities. She said the location has been great for people in North Huntsville who can’t make it to the clinic in John Hunt Park.

“We have had a lot of community members, Black and Brown people who come through and get fully vaccinated,” Slay said.

Back in December, a Pew Research Center survey showed only 42% of Black Americans would be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

At the time, Dr. Javar Myatt-Jones, a local doctor in Tuscumbia, told WAFF America’s history of racism in medical research and a lack of trust in the federal government was making some Black Americans hesitant to take the vaccine.

Slay said she’s seen the vaccine skepticism firsthand but they have also heard from people who have gone through the AAMU vaccine clinic and said their clinic helped them feel more comfortable getting the vaccine.

“They actually trusted us being an HBCU and a landmark in the community and a big part of the Huntsville community,” Slay said. “They trusted us with that service and that is a huge deal for us to be able to provide that service to them.”

As vaccine appointments have slowed down, Slay said they’re focused on continuing to educate the community and students to get to those who are still unsure about the vaccine.

“Really discussing the freedoms of being a fully vaccinated individual, because there are certain freedoms that come along with that now,” Slay said. “And really just being comfortable being around fully vaccinated people and not having to be like, ‘Oh, I forgot my mask.’”

Slay said the AAMU vaccine clinic is now open to walk-in appointments. Slay said they’re open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and from 8 a.m. to Noon on Thursdays.

She said anyone who wants to get a COVID-19 vaccine or just has questions about the vaccine can come in during those hours. The clinic is located at the Alabama A&M Health and Wellness Center.

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