BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Some health experts are optimistic a COVID-19 vaccine could be available to the public by the end of 2020 but with 10% of the state being uninsured, we asked the state health department if the vaccine would be accessible to everyone.
State health officer Dr. Karen Landers said preventing disease is much more effective than treating it. That’s why the healthcare community is diligently searching for a vaccine for COVID-19.
The government’s top infectious diseases specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress on Tuesday that vaccine trials were looking favorable and a vaccine could be available by the end of the year.
But once the vaccine is available, how accessible will it be?
“Given the level of Public Health Emergency and also the level of pandemic here, this would be a vaccine that would be given, at least initially, without any charges attached with given the public health significance of this pandemic,” said Dr. Karen Landers.
As of Wednesday, 879 people had died from COVID-19 in Alabama and more than 2,500 hospitalized.
With a vaccine being likely in the coming months, we looked into how likely it is people would get the vaccination.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the vast majority of children are still being vaccinated nationally, likely due to educational requirements. Alabama is top 10 for childhood vaccinations.
As for adults, the CDC reports 45% of adults got a flu shot in 2019, which was an increase of 8.2% from the previous year.
Dr. Landers weighed in on whether the COVID-19 vaccine would be required or voluntary, saying, “I think that’s to be determined. But given the severity of COVID-19, once we have a vaccine product available I really think that It would be very prudent for people to take advantage of that vaccine. Because we know how deadly this virus can be and we know how easily it can be transmitted.”
Landers said vaccines must go through rigorous trials before they are made to the general public.