Coffee County Commissioner Jimmy Jones released a statement to the media on Jan. 11 calling for the State of Alabama to “eliminate red tape” and increase vaccine distribution.
Jones is Coffee County District 5’s Commissioner and implored the state to increase its rate of delivery.
“Now is the time for action. With over 226,000 doses of (COVID-19) vaccine in our state and only 42,800 given, we need to increase our rate of delivery, now,” Jones exclaimed. “18.9 percent of doses delivered over the three weeks is unacceptable. Our people need this vaccine.
“We need this vaccine to save lives and get our economy back to normal. Our people demand better from us. When the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) puts out a toll-free number to make an appointment for those over 75 years of age, and it receives over 1.1 millions calls in the first 24 hours, we can clearly see how desperate people are to obtain this vaccine.”
Jones also called on public health officials to use “out-of-the-box thinking” to ensure the distribution rate increases.
“I call on ADPH and the State of Alabama to use all means necessary to ensure we distribute the COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible. This may take some out-of-the-box thinking by our directors of public health, but we should have distribution locations in accessible areas,” Jones said. “We should maximize our use of volunteers and get these shots in people’s arms. If we need to waive qualifications to allow more people to be able to give the shots, then let’s do it.
“If we need drive-through clinics, then let’s do it. The vaccine should not be held up by bureaucratic red tape, unnecessary paperwork, arcane restrictions and slow delivery methods. We are in a war with the virus and we are not going to win it by using a playbook designed to restrict our actions.”
Jones said that he is prepared to help organize a vaccine task force in Coffee County.
“As an elected official, I stand ready to work with the state and ADPH in organizing our community into a vaccine task force. We need every doctor’s office to apply to be providers of this vaccine and offer this to their patients,” Jones emphasized. “We need the hospital to offer vaccines. Additionally, we need businesses to apply to be providers so they can get their own vaccine and give it to their employees.
“We are in this fight together and we can only defeat this common enemy if our government will lead, and our people will cooperate. We the people are ready for action and we are willing to help, but we require the cooperation and assistance of the public health system. We need them ready and willing to use all the resources that we can muster together. With community action and government cooperation we can do this. We need action now.”