JEFFERSON COUNTY UNIFIED COMMAND CENTER UPDATE FOR JANUARY 13, 2021
Birmingham, AL— The Jefferson County Unified Command Center (JCUC) and its partner agencies continue to help provide information, goods and services to the people of Jefferson County throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response. Dr. Mark Wilson, Jefferson County Health Officer, and Jim Coker, Director of Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency serve as the co- leaders of the Unified Command Center.
COVID-19 Vaccine for Age 75 and Older: What to Expect
Beginning Monday, January 18, all people age 75 and older in Alabama are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is good news, because older people are at higher risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 infection. Therefore, all people in this age group are strongly urged to get vaccinated at their first opportunity, whether it is the Moderna vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine. Both vaccines work the same way and are equally effective.
The Jefferson County Department of Health will be conducting a vaccination event on Monday, January 18. People age 75 and older who have pre-registered either by phone or online with the Jefferson County COVID Vaccine Call Center will be sent an invitation to make an appointment for vaccination at this event. There are currently more requests for vaccination than appointment slots, so the appointments will be made on a first come, first served basis. For people who miss it, there will be additional opportunities to be vaccinated; everyone on the Call Center pre-registration list will be sent appointment invitations for subsequent vaccination opportunities. Jefferson County residents can expect to receive multiple invitations and reminders. We encourage people to accept and schedule the first opportunity that is offered. If you receive messages after receiving both doses of the vaccine, you can simply ignore them. The goal of the Call Center is to assure that everyone that is eligible at the time in the current allocation phase has an opportunity to get vaccinated, and no one is left out.
Some people age 75 and older may be contacted from other health care providers in the community who have received vaccine. However, many health care providers do not yet have any vaccine. Some patients may begin receiving invitations very soon; other invitations may come later, so your patience is encouraged. People are asked to please refrain from calling area hospitals about vaccine. We anticipate that a growing number of outpatient doctors’ offices and pharmacies who will have vaccine available in the coming weeks.
At this point, most vaccination sites in Jefferson County are offering vaccination by appointment only. This helps avoid long lines and crowds, and it avoids the prospect of someone being turned away after traveling to a vaccination site. There will eventually be enough vaccine for everyone who wants it.
COVID-19 Vaccine for First Responders
All first responders, including law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and volunteer fire & rescue personnel are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning January 18. The Jefferson County Health Care Coalition is working to provide vaccination for all first responder organizations in our county. Vaccine may be available prior to January 18 for First Responders that have not already received the vaccine.
Call Center and the MLK Weekend
The Jefferson County COVID Vaccine Call Center will not be staffed in-person during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend – Saturday through Monday, January 16-18. Online pre-registration for vaccination will remain available. Links to the on-line self-registration form are available at jeffcoema.org or at jcdh.org.
Important: Immunity from Vaccine Takes Time
People who get either of the current vaccines need to remember that they will not get the full benefit of the vaccine until approximately two to four weeks after their second dose. Everyone is urged to continue the usual precautions – wearing of masks, social distancing, hand-washing, and limiting gatherings - after receiving the vaccine.
Alabama Department of Public Health, Medicaid Agency, Attorney General Issue Warning on Scams Claiming to Offer COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines
The Department of Pub
lic Health and the Alabama Medicaid Agency are receiving reports of citizens being contacted at their homes for the purpose of being offered COVID-19 vaccinations at home. In addition, individuals claiming to be employees of the Medicaid Agency are contacting recipients by phone or in person and offering free COVID-19 testing.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie McGee Azar and Attorney General Steve Marshall warn that this is a scam and anyone who is contacted about an offer for free in-home COVID-19 testing or vaccinations should immediately end the contact.
The public is encouraged to report such calls to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-5658 or via email to ConstituentAffairs@AlabamaAG.gov.
The Salvation Army of Greater Birmingham Receives Grant for Emergency Rent and Utility Assistance
The Salvation Army of Greater Birmingham has received a Community Development Block Grant from The Jefferson County Commission to provide COVID-19 emergency assistance for Jefferson County residents living outside the city limits of Birmingham, Bessemer, Helena, and Sumiton. Applicants can be awarded a one-time benefit of up to $1,500 to help with rent or utilities, including water, sewer, electric, and gas. To qualify for the funding, the applicant must be a resident of Jefferson County that lives outside of the city limits of Birmingham, Bessemer, Helena, and Sumiton. The applicant must also have had a documented loss of income due to the Corona Virus pandemic. For more information, please contact (205) 328-4536.