Covington County was one of six counties that posted significant increases in the number of COVID-19 vaccination rates in August following a grassroots effort, We Can Do This Alabama, challenging mayors to increase vaccination rates in their communities.
Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson accepted that challenge, and on Wednesday was recognized by We Can Do This Alabama for the largest increases in vaccinations.
Also recognized were :
- Mayor Joe Hughes of Locust Fork in Blount County.
- Mayor Chuck Ables of Geraldine in DeKalb County.
- Mayor Yank Lovelace of Brewton in Escambia County.
- Mayor Bob Joslin of Arab; Mayor David Dyar of Boaz; and Mayor Leigh Dollar, Guntersville, all in Marshall County.
- Mayor Charles Andrews of Monroeville in Monroe County.
“We were pleased to learn Wednesday that Covington County had one of the six highest increases in vaccine rates in August,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “As of Wednesday morning, 39.2% of the county’s population had had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 32.6 percent were completely vaccinated.”
The number of vaccinated people in the county increased by 21 percent in August.
We Can Do This Alabama is a collaborative effort between the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Hospital Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Alabama Nursing Home Association, the Alabama Primary Health Care Association, the Alabama Chapter-AAP, the Alabama Council for Behavioral Healthcare, the Alabama State Nurses Association, and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama with the goal of increasing COVID-19 vaccinations in Alabama through a grassroots approach.
“We are very grateful to the mayors who participated in the challenge,” said Donald E. Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “We urge all mayors and local leaders to continue encouraging vaccinations as this is the most important weapon in stopping the spread of the virus. The leadership of these men and women is critical in ensuring the health and safety of their communities.”
In total, Alabama saw a 14 percent increase in vaccinations from the start of the challenge in early August through Labor Day.
“While those numbers are encouraging, we cannot rest on them,” Mayor Johnson said. “During that same time, there have been 1,168 new cases of the virus in Covington County, and at least 13 more deaths from COVID-19. That number might be higher, as there is a two-week delay between the time of death and an update in the Alabama Department of Public Health’s official numbers.
“We are seeing an increasing number of pediatric cases, and on Wednesday, there were 29 people hospitalized in Covington County with COVID-19. Only three had been vaccinated.”
Johnson also reminded area residents it is not too late to get vaccinated.
“I want to encourage people who have not yet taken time to get vaccinated to do so. We have lost at least 152 residents to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Scientists and physicians are telling us that until we increase our collective immunity, the virus will continue to mutate and spread. Getting a vaccine is the best way to help stop the spread.”
The mayor also expressed his appreciation to Alan Cotton for his efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated.
“I cannot say enough about what Alan has done. He continues to supply white roses in memory of his wife, Angie, to anyone to participates in a vaccine clinic. Angie died in July, just 10 days after being diagnosed with COVID, and Alan doesn’t want anyone else to face what he and his family have been through.”
COVID-19 vaccinations are available locally at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Covington County Health Department, Main Street Faily Care, and Andalusia Regional Hospital.