MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — In his briefing Friday on Alabama’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris announced Alabamians 65 years of age and older will be eligible for the vaccine beginning Feb. 8.
The following groups will also be eligible to receive the vaccine beginning Feb. 8:
- Corrections officers
- Food and agriculture workers
- Post office employees
- Manufacturing workers
- Grocery store workers
- Public transit workers
- Anyone in the education sector (such as teachers, support staff, community college/higher education)
- Childcare workers
Vaccine distribution remains restricted to healthcare workers, first responders, and those 75 years of age and older, as the state remains in vaccinating phase 1a and 1b. Expanding to those 65 years of age and older is part of phase 1c.
The additional priority groups will add over 1,000,000 people that are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Alabama. While just under 2,000,000 people will qualify to receive the vaccine, the state continues to only receive around 100,000 doses each week.
According to Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), 148,549 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 175,326 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been given out to first responders, residents and staff of Alabama’s nursing homes and individuals 75 and older. A total of 772,275 vaccines have been delivered to Alabama, meaning that 42% of what has already been delivered to the state have been administered.
Harris commented on his earlier announcement of the arrival of more vaccine doses in Alabama. The state will receive 10,000 additional Moderna vaccine dose per week over the next three weeks. This is in addition to the 55,000 total doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines Alabama receives weekly.
“We have all been frustrated that the supply of vaccine coming from the federal government hasn’t kept up with the demand,” Governor Ivey said in statement. “To be blunt, we simply haven’t gotten the vaccine that we’ve been promised, and this has created a major backlog of aggravation. Today’s announcement will ensure that as more vaccine is released, we will have a plan in place to get the vaccine in people’s arms more quickly.”
Covered in this expanded group are people at high risk for work-related exposure and persons in identified age groups at risk for COVID-19 associated morbidity and mortality. These include people working or living in congregate settings including but not limited to homeless shelters and group homes.
“Alabama is expanding its guidance despite the limited vaccine in order to accelerate the vaccine uptake in our state,” Dr. Scott Harris said. “I want to reiterate that any remaining vaccines that have not been administered are either someone’s first dose and they are waiting on their appointment or they are waiting on their second dose. Any vaccine currently in the state has someone’s name on it.”
As a courtesy to others, healthier people age 65 and older and workers who fall in these groups are encouraged to consider delaying their vaccination so that more vulnerable people can access vaccine ahead of them.
“Please give your spot in line to someone who’s more deserving,” said Harris. “We’re telling everyone in these groups that they’re now eligible…but there’s not enough vaccine to go around.”
Harris says the state’s online scheduling portal could be active by the start of next week. This tool will provide information about opportunities for vaccination, including drive-through clinics being scheduled throughout the state.
To schedule an appointment for the free COVID-19 vaccination at a county health department, individuals may call the ADPH COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline at 1-855-566-5333. For general information about COVID-19, the COVID-19 Information Hotline number is 1-800-270-7268. The vaccine providers can be found within the Alabama COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Dashboard at arcg.is/OrCey.