BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Beginning March 23, the Alabama National Guard will be deployed into rural areas of Alabama to administer COVID-19 vaccines. The mobile vaccination sites will be set up in at least 24 counties.

Two teams of 55 persons each will rotate through the designated counties. Teams will administer at least 1,000 vaccinations per site per day, four days a week. A total of 8,000 doses will be administered per week.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the state will work will local communities to make residents aware of the vaccine sites.

“Ideally, it will be something that’s promoted locally, in a prominent site in the community,” he said. “We’ll recruit the municipalities or community to help promote it.”

Hale County EMA Director Russell Weeden said he found out Hale County would be included in this program after receiving a call from UAB.

“UAB was going to come down and give 1,200 vaccines but they notified me today, the National Guard was going to take over their role…UAB won’t [be offering vaccines here anymore], but the National Guard will take over the rural counties,” said Weeden.

The guardsmen will work alongside the state health department, county EMA, and local law enforcement to determine sites and logistics. The governor’s office said it will provide more information once determined.

“As we continue ramping up our vaccine distribution efforts, the guardsmen will play a critical role in reaching folks in rural areas of Alabama. We want to use every tool in our toolkit so that we can get COVID-19 behind us once and for all. The Guard and Public Health will be working closely with county emergency management officials to determine the sites, and we will be sharing that information once it is finalized. Please take advantage of this resource if you are able, but I continue urging patience as we continue working to get our hands on more supplies from the federal government. Folks, we can have hope, because, finally, we can see the end of COVID-19.”

Gov. Kay Ivey