Alabama health leaders react to vaccine eligibility expansion
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama health leaders are welcoming the news that 16-year-olds and older will be eligible to get COVID 19 vaccine shots starting Monday. Governor Kay Ivey made the announcement Friday.
It is a big move. Starting Monday more than four million Alabamians will be eligible to get the vaccine. Supply is up, but health leaders are concerned the current eligible group is not taking the vaccines.
Governor Ivey said getting more shots in arms is the only way to get out of the pandemic. “The best shot is a shot in the arm,” Ivey said.
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris agreed. “We believe everyone ought to receive this vaccine. This is the way Alabama gets back to normal. This is way we can put all of this behind us. We are very fortunate to three safe and effective vaccine products.” Harris said.
The man who oversees vaccinations in Jefferson County also said it’s time for expansion. “I’m really excited about this for Jefferson County and Alabama. This is at the point we have a lot of vaccine coming in there is no reason to hold back,” Dr. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Department of Health said.
There are reports around Alabama some counties are not using all of the vaccine doses they now have.
“Vaccine being available but nobody is showing up, to an extent that it is dragging down our vaccination rates, is very troubling,” Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said.
“We are seeing open appointments. We are seeing vaccines available. So expanding it only makes sense to get it to the most people we can,” Dr. Harris said.
Hicks said more mass drive through vaccination sites are being planned for the county.
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