CNN visits MCHD to report on COVID-19 vaccination efforts

July 23, 2021

CNN visits MCHD to report on COVID-19 vaccination efforts

MOBILE, Ala. — It was quite an exciting day at the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) on Thursday. A team from CNN was present to produce a segment for the “Anderson Cooper 360” show. The episode is scheduled to run tonight between 7 and 8 p.m.

Gary Tuchman, a correspondent with the “Anderson Cooper 360” program, had reached out on Tuesday about doing a story on MCHD’s efforts to get more individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. In his initial email, he wanted the story to inspire viewers by showing them that “heroic people are out there ready to give you a COVID vaccine when you are ready for it.”

The team from CNN consisted of Mr. Tuchman, producer Anne Clifford, and cameraman Mark Biello. They traveled from across the country to converge in Mobile. Mr. Tuchman drove from Atlanta, Ms. Clifford flew in from New York, while Mr. Biello arrived from Jacksonville, Fla.

Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, Health Officer of Mobile County, and Dr. Laura Cepeda, MCHD’s Chief Medical Officer, met the CNN staff when they arrived Thursday morning at the Keeler Memorial Building in Downtown Mobile. The CNN crew began by recording the COVID-19 vaccine operations that take place at Keeler each weekday.

After conducting an interview with Dr. Rendi Murphree, an Epidemiologist who oversees MCHD’s Bureau of Disease Surveillance and Control, the CNN team continued to speak with clients who agreed to tell their stories on why they had decided to come to Keeler that day to be vaccinated.

The filming continued into the night as the CNN trio followed our COVID-19 Response Team as it set up a vaccination clinic at the Bay Bites Food Truck Festival inside Mobile’s Cooper Riverside Park. It was the third outreach of the day for the COVID-19 Response Team, as MCHD had already given shots during the Dauphin Island Market in the Park and at the Occupational Health Center.

The stories from the clients at Cooper Riverside Park were much different from those who had come to Keeler. The ones getting their shots at the food truck event were not originally planning to be vaccinated on Thursday. However, when they saw MCHD was onsite ready to provide either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they took advantage of the opportunity.

MCHD and Family Health, its primary care division, have administered more than 30,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. After hosting 22 clinics at the Alabama Cruise Terminal, they have gone on to conduct approximately 130 community-based clinics. This includes providing vaccine to international crews on cargo ships visiting Mobile and Theodore, as well as giving shots to homebound residents and their caregivers.

Overall, only 1 in 3 residents of Mobile County are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The weekly number of people infected with COVID-19 is going up, while the weekly number of people getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is going down. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms in Mobile County has gone from 32 on July 9 to 75 on Wednesday.

The public can get either the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (for those 18 and older), the Pfizer vaccine (for those 12 and older) or the Moderna vaccine (for those 18 and older) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at both the Keeler Memorial Building (251 North Bayou Street in Mobile) and the Newburn Building (248 Cox Street in Mobile).

The daily COVID-19 data can be found at To learn the latest on MCHD’s vaccine events, visit or call 251-410-MCHD (6243). Information is also available under the Events section of