From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY More Alabamians will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations soon.
Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Friday that starting March 22, ADPH will extend eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to include people age 55 and older, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the population defined as Allocation Phase 1c in the Alabama Vaccine Allocation Plan.
We have been concerned that many people at high risk and others engaged in close contact work have not been eligible to receive the vaccine yet, but with the additional vaccine supply we are better able to meet the needs of Alabama residents, Governor Ivey said. Starting March 22, individuals can be assured of receiving the shots they have been patiently waiting to get.
According to the ADPH announcement, some of those to be included for extended eligibility are people age 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions, which include but are not limited to the following conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state
- Solid organ transplant
- Obesity, BMI greater than 30
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 1 and 2 diabetes
- Other medical conditions as determined by your medical provider
Also, critical workers in the following areas who were not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b will be eligible:
- Transportation and logistics
- Waste and wastewater
- Food service (includes restaurant staff)
- Shelter and housing (construction)
- Finance (bank tellers)
- Information technology and communication
- Public safety (engineers)
The additional priority groups will add over 2 million people who are eligible to receive vaccinations in Alabama. While around two-thirds of Alabama residents will qualify to receive the vaccine, the state receives between 110,000 and 120,000 first doses each week, according to ADPH.
During the week of March 29 through April 2, additional vaccination clinics will be planned around the state.
As of March 11, 556,603 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 611,566 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 8,745 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in the state. A total of 1,731,965 vaccines have been delivered to Alabama.
Alabama is expanding its guidance to accelerate access to the safe and effective vaccines now available in our state, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. While authorized vaccines roll out and more people are vaccinated, everyone needs to continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing to protect their loved ones and the many vulnerable people in the state.