UM, Montevallo Drugs hold COVID-19 clinic

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO — The University of Montevallo hosted a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic Tuesday, March 30, in partnership with Montevallo Drugs.

Montevallo Drugs provided the vaccine, which was the Johnson & Johnson version requiring only one dose, and UM provided the facilities and some staffing which allowed for a larger clinic to be held.

The clinic was available to the entire Montevallo community.

“Many of our students don’t yet qualify, so it was really mainly for community members from around the Montevallo community,” said Dr. Tammi Stewart Dahle, vice president for enrollment and student affairs / Dean of Students. “The main thing we want to be is a good community member. Our health is dependent upon the health of the community.”

The following morning, UM hosted the second of two clinics for University employees, which received the Moderna vaccine. That clinic was a partnership between UM, Montevallo Drugs and Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

Later in the day on Wednesday, March 31, a first-dose clinic was held for student employees, who automatically qualify for a vaccine.

“We have almost 400 students who work for us, and many of them have been on the front lines for us like our hall staff that live with students,” Dahle said. “We’ve reached out and worked with partners throughout the county to try to do our best to vaccinate as many in our campus community as possible given those who want the vaccine. And we’ve built some really strong partnerships with all of those organizations, and they have all been good to work with.”

Dahle expressed gratitude toward partners Montevallo Drugs and Shelby Baptist, as well as support from individual advocates like Shelby County Manager Chad Scroggins and Rep. Corley Ellis (R-Columbiana).

Scroggins said community clinics like the one in Montevallo have made it easier for people in different areas of the county to get access to the vaccine.

“Those who want a shot are finding ways to get a shot, but at the same time if we can put them closer to where people live, it’s easier for them to get there,” Scroggins said. “By bringing the vaccinations to them for the last few days, we’ve seen a lot of pharmacies come online and that’s a positive because it’s in the communities in which people live.”

Appointments are still filling up in a matter of minutes, however. Scroggins said he would love to improve access to people in Vincent, Harpersville, Chelsea, Helena and other communities.

“We just encourage people to try and get the vaccine any way they can, whether it be through a pharmacy or through the department of public health,” he said.

Rep. Corley Ellis (R-Columbiana) said the county has been able to work through many of its logistics issues, and as a result clinics are going more smoothly than in the early stages of the vaccine rollout.

He said the Shelby County Commission has been a good partner with clinics, and a lot of different people and groups, including UM, have been offering to help from the very beginning.
“The end goal at the end of the day is to try to get a vaccine available for everybody that wants one,” Ellis said.