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USA Health marked a milestone today on the Alabama Gulf Coast, giving its 50,000th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Published Mar 26th, 2021

By Casandra Andrews

As Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” blared from a speaker and car horns honked, USA Health staff members marked a milestone on March 26, administering their 50,000th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to Denise Dortch.

After an announcement and countdown at the Mobile Civic Center Arena, Dortch received her first dose of the vaccine, then clapped her hands together and smiled behind a pale pink and white cloth mask.

“I want to make sure and help the community and do my part and stay safe,” Dortch said a few minutes later. “COVID is real. I know several people who passed away because of it.”

A little more than three months ago, on Dec. 15, 2020, a USA Health nurse gave the first shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the region to healthcare staff at University Hospital. Now, the health system is providing up to 1,500 vaccines a day.

"We are proud to continue to lead vaccination efforts on the upper Gulf Coast," said Michael Chang, M.D., chief medical officer for USA Health. "Part of our role as an academic health system is to train the next generation of healthcare providers on how to best serve our patients, including vulnerable populations. This sometimes includes outreach efforts such as the community-based vaccine clinics held in underserved areas across Mobile."

Soon after the initial vaccine distribution to frontline workers this winter, USA Health expanded a partnership with the City of Mobile to open a drive-through vaccine clinic at the Mobile Civic Center arena where thousands of residents have received protection from the novel coronavirus through a two-dose series of shots.

Understanding the public health need to vaccinate people as quickly as possible, USA Health has worked with public school systems in Mobile and Baldwin counties, hosting numerous mass vaccine events to focus vaccination efforts on educators on both sides of Mobile Bay. From bus drivers to cafeteria workers to classroom teachers, USA Health is striving to provide protection from COVID-19 to those who need it most.

On March 22, those 55 and older and those 16 and older with certain health conditions became eligible to receive the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in Alabama. Most people can receive an appointment with USA Health within 24 to 48 hours of signing up.

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