MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health said nearly 19,000 people took advantage of a new online portal for COVID-19 vaccination scheduling in just the first day.
ADPH launched the eligibility and scheduling portal Monday afternoon as a way of helping residents check their eligibility and make appointments for vaccinations at county health departments.
The portal is seeing about 300 active users at a time, and has booked an average of 900 appointments per hour, the department said.
ADPH is working to speed up its vaccination efforts with the portal being one way of streamlining the process. Next week, the department will hold eight massive drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinics across the state.
The large scale clinics open the week of Feb. 8 in Anniston, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Selma, and Tuscaloosa and should each provide about 1,000 doses per day on a first come, first served basis. ADPH has not yet released information on the exact locations of each clinic.
The clinics will begin the same day the state officially expands the vaccination eligibility requirements to those 65 or older, as well as other groups.
ADPH said the goal of the large scale clinics is to get vaccines into as many arms as possible with each site’s thousand vaccines per day totaling up to about 40,000 people getting a vaccine dose in a week.
The department said the greatest challenge Alabama and other state’s have is that there’s still a limited amount of vaccine available. Even with an uptick in doses, ADPH says there won’t be enough to go around and it’s asking anyone who qualifies but is in good health to please allow others who are at risk to get their vaccination first.
As of Monday, ADPH reported 462,938 COVID-19 cases and 7,894 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic started. Hospitalizations, meanwhile, have dropped steadily from a holiday surge of nearly 3,100 to 1,868 inpatients, as of Tuesday.