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Alabama actively remains in phase 1A of vaccine distribution

Area Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers shares insight.
Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 6:16 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The COVID-19 incubation period is from two to 14 days. ADPH Area Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers said new covid cases from Christmas is expected to be seen over the weekend and into early next week.

Some rural areas in the state are still struggling with access to testing. Southeast Alabama will have additional testing next week.

With some hospitals being overwhelmed with the current numbers, Dr. Landers shares her concern.

“The problem is not the beds, it’s the personnel that staff the beds, and COVID-19 patients can be sick enough to require one on one type nursing care and also multiple consults with specialist or sub specialists so you’re really talking about a lot of medical care for each individual patient,” Dr. Landers said. “Again, at some point we have to remember that with our staffs working day in and day out since really, I would say the late Winter of 2020 and into the early Spring and into now, medical personnel, their tired.”

But there is hope as phase 1A of distribution of the vaccine is in full swing in Alabama. Several health care providers, long term care workers and residents have been receiving the vaccine. Dr. Landers says long term care facilities are being managed and vaccinated through the partnership for long term care, like a pharmacy partnership, from the federal government utilizing large pharmacy chains and some other pharmacies.

“It’s really the role, not the title, and when we stop and think about a person who might be working in the intake triage are of a emergency room or a doctor’s office with persons coming in and having direct contact with those persons then those persons are at very high risk or high risk to get covid because they are seeing patients face to face, one on one, initially,” Dr. Landers said.

Some states, like Florida, have already started administering the vaccine to some of those 65 years and older, but by following AICP guidelines that is not in the phase 1A of distribution for the state of Alabama.

“We expect as the vaccine supply increases and also as we are in different parts of the state to have met our goals in terms of our phase 1A workers that we will be able to make a soft transition to some recipients in additional phases such as phase 1B, but with the vaccine supply it is now we need to ensure that we complete as many persons in phase 1A as possible prior to moving on,” Dr. Landers said. “But I do expect that and we are continuing to look at our data”

Dr. Landers said vaccine numbers should go up by next Monday. ADPH updates the vaccine dashboard once a week to provide the best accuracy. Vaccines are being given every day in various entities.

With Alabama’s mask mandate in place since July, Dr. Landers encourages everyone to adhere to these guidelines to help slow the spread of the virus.

“Given the numbers that we are seeing our percent positivity statewide is over 17-percent, our risk indicator dashboard was just updated and now is the time with the vaccine on the horizon for us to just re-double our efforts,” Dr. Lander said. “Each individual doing everything that he or she can do to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Certainly, everyone is very weary of this, but this is the time for us to stay the course. Our hospitals are very very overwhelmed and working very hard, and there comes a time that we really will not have enough health care workers to be able to do everything that needs to be done if we don’t keep these numbers certainly at the level they are now, or much lower which is what we really need to see.”

Vaccine records are kept up with by the immPRINT system, an electronic registry for documentation of what vaccine a person received. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two doses. They are not interchangeable.

The state of Alabama does not disclose the names and faces of those who have lost their life to this virus. Dr. Landers said this is due to respect of the confidentiality and privacy of the persons and their families.

However, some family members have voluntarily advocated for their lost loved ones, with permission the ADPH shares the “Faces of Covid.”

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