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COVID-19 vaccine could be available to some Alabamians as early as December

In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a...
In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. Moderna said Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, its COVID-19 shot provides strong protection against the coronavirus that's surging in the U.S. and around the world.((AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File))
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 2:58 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As soon as mid-December, healthcare providers and the chronically ill in Alabama could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine, that’s according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

U.S. Army Gen. Gustave Perna, Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed, recently spoke with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris about the rapid progress of a possible initial supply of vaccine products to be available in the state as soon as a vaccine is authorized.

Large amounts of vaccine from different companies have already been produced and stored while clinical trials are ongoing.

Health care experts said extraordinary precautions are taken to protect the stockpiles of vaccine, including armed guards.

After the FDA confirms a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and when an Emergency Use Authorization is received, vaccine kits will be shipped to several locations statewide and pre-positioned to provide immunizations in Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is following its three-phased COVID-19 vaccine plan. ADPH continues to enroll community partners in its statewide population-based immunization electronic registry system, ImmPRINT (Immunization Patient Registry with Integrated Technology) to provide COVID-19 vaccine.

These include private sector partners including medical facilities and health care providers who will administer the vaccine.

Those who will receive vaccine first include healthcare workers and first responders.

All Americans can receive their initial vaccine treatment without any charge, including people with no health insurance.

Gen. Perna and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris emphasized the goal is for all people to have access to the free vaccine regardless of their financial status or location.

Distribution of the vaccine will be made equitably to those most at risk, the chronically ill and seniors in all 67 Alabama counties.

Most vaccine candidates require patients to receive two doses at a certain time interval apart. The stated goal of Operation Warp Speed is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures).

Alabama COVID-19 vaccine information is available by going to https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/vaccine.html

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Original Story: https://www.wbrc.com/2020/11/16/covid-vaccine-could-be-available-some-alabamians-early-december/