Montgomery, Alabama (AP) —Alabama will reduce the number of people eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 next month, even though not all people eligible for shots have enough vaccine yet. It will double, the director of the state health department said on Friday.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said everyone over the age of 65. Educators; Court officials; Prison officers; Postal workers; Grocery workers; Some manufacturing workers; Public transport workers; Farmers; State legislature as the program expands on February 8 Parliamentarians and constitutional officials are eligible for vaccination.
Currently only for people over 75 years old. For first responders, healthcare professionals and caregivers. The state has heard complaints that more people are not allowed to line up for shots.
The change means that 1.5 million people in the state will qualify for shots from the current 700,000, Harris said in a media briefing. However, there is still not enough vaccine. Harris urged healthy, young people with a low risk of the virus to let others go first.
“We need people to understand that it’s not enough to go around,” Harris said.
According to Harris, the state will be vaccinated with additional vaccines in the coming weeks and will open large drive-through clinics in Aniston, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Selma and Tuscaloosa. However, the boost may not be permanent and cannot alleviate the overall shortage, he said.
If the state receives approximately 60,000 initial doses per week, 3 million doses would be required to expand eligibility to 1.5 million.
In Alabama, more than 7,300 people died of COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus, and about 452,000 were positive. The virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but it is fatal to the elderly and those with serious health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Vaccine deficiency means that so many people in the state have underlying health problems that there is not enough dose available to extend eligibility to everyone at high risk of illness. That means, Harris said.
“Alabama isn’t healthy at baseline, even before COVID,” he said.
Of the approximately 772,000 doses delivered to Alabama, he said, nearly 324,000 doses were provided throughout the state until Thursday night. According to Harris, about 4,000 vaccine doses that weren’t used fast enough in doctors’ clinics and small county health centers were reassigned, with all remaining doses being the first or two. “Someone’s name is listed” through the appointment for the second vaccination.
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