HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — College football roots run deep in Alabama and health officials have noticed. The Alabama Department of Public Health is taking advantage of football season by using college football games to get more people vaccinated.
The Alabama Department of Public Health is partnering with a Birmingham-based event management company to provide vaccines and testing for COVID-19 at select college football home games throughout the state, the department announced Friday.
Gene Hallman, President and CEO of Bruno Event Team, says, "We're going to have a very robust and well thought out platform of college football to help amplify the message that people need to get their vaccinations. We will be on sight with medical professionals providing free vaccinations to fans in some cases the day before and the day after the game, but certainly in all thirteen situations, the day of the game."
ADPH will staff clinics at home games of thirteen colleges that compete at the FBS or FCS level. The initiative will make it easy for people to get tested and vaccinated in the same location. Each person who gets vaccinated will receive a $75 voucher to spend at the bookstore at the home team's university.
Hallman says, "You can go buy some fan apparel, hat, t-shirt, golf shirt, whatever it may be, as a way to say thank you for helping us make our communities safer."
And if you got vaccinated before the game, you can still get a voucher. All you have to do is upload picture of your vaccine ID card to kickcovid19.com. Participating schools include the University of Alabama, Auburn, UAB, South Alabama, West Alabama North Alabama, Jacksonville State, Miles, Alabama A&M, Tuskegee, Alabama State University, Troy and Sanford.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to utilize the power of college football as a platform for promoting the need to get vaccinated,” said Gene Hallman, CEO of the Bruno Event Team. “The 2020 season was lacking the passion that comes from large crowds cheering for their favorite team. We need to do everything possible to ensure players and fans can safely return to stadiums to experience college football as we know and love it.”
The KICK COVID campaign’s on-site locations will be placed prominently at the following home games of each FBS and FCS football program this fall, although the games and dates are subject to change:
- University of West Alabama vs. North American University, Sept. 16
- Jacksonville State University vs. University of North Alabama, Sept. 18
- University of South Alabama vs. Alcorn State University, Sept. 18
- Alabama State University vs. Bethune-Cookman University, Sept. 25
- Auburn University vs. Georgia State University, Sept. 25
- Miles College vs. Central State University, Sept. 25
- Samford University vs. East Tennessee State University, Sept. 25
- University of Alabama vs. University of Southern Mississippi, Sept. 25
- Tuskegee University vs. Edward Waters College, Oct. 2
- UAB vs. Liberty University, Oct. 2
- University of North Alabama vs. Campbell University, Oct. 2
- Alabama A&M University vs. Jackson State University, Oct. 9
- Troy University vs. Liberty University, Oct. 9
Each school will have its own outreach campaign targeting fans and students, which student-athletes will help to promote.
“With the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant circulating, and cases, hospitalizations and deaths increasing, we continue urging all eligible people to be vaccinated as quickly as possible. These new and popular venues will provide additional opportunities for people to learn more about the virus, the vaccine, and receive testing and vaccine on-site,” said State Health Officer Scott Harris.
Editor's note: Portions of this article were originally published at alreporter.com.