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New group to soon be eligible for vaccine

News Friday indicates that a new group of Alabama residents will now be eligible to register for the COVID-19 vaccine being made available through the Alabama Department of Public Health.

In an announcement by Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday morning, the new group will be able to register for and receive the vaccine beginning February 8.

The new age group will include those who are at least 65 years of age. Others will now qualify if they are part of an identified group of frontline works.

Frontline critical workers listed in the plan are as follows:
First responders
Corrections officers
Food and agriculture workers
U.S. Postal Service workers
Manufacturing workers
Grocery store workers
Public transit workers
People who work in the education sector (teachers, support staff, community college and higher education)
Childcare workers
Judiciary (including but not limited to) circuit judges, district judges and district attorneys

The additional priority groups will add over 1 million people that are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Alabama. While just under 2 million people will qualify to receive the vaccine, the state continues to only receive around 100,000 doses each week.

As of today, 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 percent of what has already been delivered to the state have been administered.

“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. “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.

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.
ADPH anticipates the release of a new online tool next week which will provide information about opportunities for vaccination, including drive-through clinics being scheduled throughout the state.