Alabama’s demand for the COVID-19 vaccine by far exceeds the supply
Alabama has about 3.9 million adults, meaning there would need to be just under 8 million vaccine doses needed working with the products currently available.
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -The Alabama Department of Public Health reports they have administered over 223,000 vaccines of the more than 502,000 available. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris held a news conference this morning to provide an update on Alabama administering the vaccine.
“We clearly have to have more vaccine, we’re going to hopefully see the manufactures be able to ramp up their production,” Dr. Harris said
Dr. Harris said Alabama has about 3.9 million adults, meaning there would need to be just under 8 million vaccine doses need with the products that are currently available, but there simply is not.
Most of the “available” vaccines seen on the state’s dashboard are second doses. Dr. Harris said these are shipped for someone who has received their first dose of the vaccine already.
Dr. Harris said the biggest challenge with the vaccine roll out has been the two dose process.
“If you’re giving shots all day, every day, and using all your staff and resources to do that, well four weeks from now every bit of that effort is going to go to somebody you’ve already seen because they’ve got to come back for their second shot, you’re not able to add any new patients,” Dr. Harris said.
Alabama remains in phase 1A of the vaccine rollout, it is a matter of numbers and vaccine availability for the state as to when it will move forward to phase 1B.
“Certainly it’s very clear and we understand we are not going to reach everybody in every group and we’re not going to wait and cover an entire group before we got to the next group, you know, there are going to be places where we just don’t have update, you know we know a little bit about that already,” Dr. Harris said. “So, we’re never going to get 100 percent of people, you know, we would love to get 70 percent of people but we’re not going to get there quickly without new products and we are hopeful to see some more very soon.”
Right now the state is just not getting enough supply to meet the demand, but Dr. Harris hopes that may change in the weeks ahead.
“Realistically, we have got to have new products out there, and particularly a one shot vaccine like J&J will go a long way to reaching that,” Dr. Harris said.
Dr. Harris said the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is likely the next new product that may come out.
“The many advantages to that are that it’s a one-shot vaccine and it doesn’t have the same cold chamber requirement so it’s a lot easier for people to receive and keep,” Dr. Harris said.
Dr. Harris said they have hoped for, by late Spring or Summer, those who want to receive the Covid vaccine will be able to go out and try to get one. However, that does not mean there will be enough available, there will just be a greater supply available to better meet the needs. Again, this all depends on getting new products out there and being available.
Dr. Harris continues to encourage everyone to wear their masks and social distance to slow the spread of this virus.
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