By Zach Hester, Reporter • firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO: Gov. Kay Ivey removes her mask at a recent press conference to deliver an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Alabama. (Hal Yeagar | Governor's Office)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — On Friday, Governor Kay Ivey (R-Ala.) announced the expansion of vaccinations to new groups across the State of Alabama.
In this new phase of vaccinations administered by the Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabamians over the age of 75, as well as first responders and law enforcement officers, will be able to receive their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine beginning on Monday, January 18. Appointments across the state will come on a first come, first served basis.
"I appreciate the swift work of ADPH to establish a system to efficiently provide our limited resources of vaccine to as many Alabamians as possible," stated Ivey. "It is critical for everyone to remain patient; demand is high, and supply is low. ADPH and their partners are working around-the-clock to assist as many people as they can."
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, Alabama, along with many other states in the Deep South, are showing the slowest vaccination rates in the entire country. The states with the lowest vaccination rates include: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, and North Carolina.
Regardless of these numbers, ADPH continues to pursue vaccinations for health care workers and nursing home residents, who are most at-risk for contracting COVID-19.
"We recognize that demand for vaccine exceeds supply," stated State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “While there is still an insufficient amount of the vaccine supply, we want to maximize our resources to help protect Alabamians at high risk. County health departments are working with their local points of distribution to assess what their vaccination reach has been. Decisions about the next groups to vaccinate are made at the community level with community engagement. If the very high-risk population has been covered adequately, providers can then begin vaccinating people in the other priority groups.”
To schedule a free appointment for the COVID-19 vaccination, please contact the Alabama Department of Public Health at 1 (855) 566-5333 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At press time, COVID-19 vaccinations were available locally at the DeKalb County Health Department and DeKalb Regional Medical Center for those who meet the qualifications.