ADPH: COVID-19 vaccine scarce, currently limited to ‘very high-risk’ people

Updated: Dec. 22, 2020 at 2:53 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama is in its second week of administering COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama is currently in Phase 1a of the rollout process. With a limited number of vaccines available, only people who are in the “very high-risk category” are eligible right now.

[Alabama COVID-19 Vaccination Allocation Plan]

Phase 1a includes critical infrastructure workforce identified as “frontline health workers, including clinical and nonclinical workers in hospitals, nursing homes or those providing in-home or mental health care directly, and emergency medical service (EMS) providers.”

According to ADPH, there are 300,000 Alabamians that fall under the population identified as Phase 1a.

“The overriding issue at present is the scarcity of vaccine. We realize that there are many people at increased risk of exposure to the virus who are not yet able to receive immunization. As the supply of vaccine remains limited, we continue to urge the public to practice the measures needed to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris is a news release Tuesday.

ADPH is urging residents to postpone travel and avoid gatherings during the holidays.

As of Friday, 4,489 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines had been administered across the state, according to ADPH. However, ADPH was notified the planned allocation of Pfizer doses for this week was reduced from 48,750 to 29,250, the department confirmed Friday.

As of Tuesday, Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery had administered more than 500 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. According to Baptist Health, those 500 doses were given to Baptist Health employees and others in the region who are included in the Phase 1a category.

Baptist Health received a shipment of nearly 4,000 Pfizer vaccines last week. They started administering them on Dec. 16.

Baptist Health said it isn’t scheduled to receive the Moderna vaccine, because ADPH recommends hospitals continue to use the same brand of vaccine to avoid confusion with second doses.

Alabama started receiving Moderna COVID-19 vaccines this week after the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization late last week. Alabama’s initial allocation of the Moderna vaccine is 84,300 doses.

The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care system in Montgomery started administering Moderna vaccines Tuesday.

On Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey, Harris and State Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mary McIntyre received the first of two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

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