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Alabama ranks 50th in vaccine distribution

Alabama ranks 50th in vaccine distribution

According to a report from the CDC, Alabama currently claims the top and dead last spots in two categories nationwide: the only state to have given the vaccine to less than 2 percent of its population, and, unsurprisingly, the state showing the lowest percentage of vaccinated citizens.

The Alabama Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard Hub shows that as of Jan. 15, 370,575 vaccine doses have been delivered to Alabama while less than half have been administered (130,394).

As of Jan. 15, the CDC’s vaccine tracker reports that 444,650 vaccines have been delivered to the state with just 100,567 doses administered; of those, 86,956 are initial doses and 13,488 are second doses. Of the doses available now, there is enough to vaccinate 15 percent of the priority populations and 8.1 percent of the state’s population. In reality, just 3.3 percent of the priority population has been vaccinated and only 1.7 percent of the total population.

However, the ADPH doesn’t agree with the CDC’s findings.

“The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) data does not concur with CDC’s data at the moment,” ADPH’s Dr. Karen Landers said in a statement Thursday. “ADPH is looking into this to ensure that all doses Alabama has administered are counted.”

Currently, the vaccine is still only available to people in Phase 1a of the vaccine plan: frontline healthcare workers and people living in nursing homes/long-term care facilities. On Monday, vaccines will be available to those 75 and older and first responders, in addition to those in the 1a category.

As the phases open up to include more people, the biggest problem the ADPH faces is the lack of available vaccination sites and medical professionals to perform the procedure, Coffee County Emergency Management Agency Director James Brown said last Monday.

While the EMA has no role to play in dispersal, he said they are doing all they can to support ADPH’s efforts behind the scenes by encouraging as many organizations, businesses and healthcare providers as possible in the community to sign up for an ImmPRINT account on the ADPH website. Municipalities are eligible for ImmPRINT accounts, too.

“We need as many providers out there as possible because ADPH cannot do this by themselves. It’s unfortunate, but the reality,” Brown said. “If we can get ADPH to give us vaccines under that account, then we can open up our own sectors to give the vaccine to our own people, and to me that’s the best way to move forward. We can help ADPH out and ourselves out. The more providers we have, the faster we can do this.”

Gov. Kay Ivey urged patience as officials figure out the most efficient ways to proceed.

“I am thankful so many Alabamians are willing and ready to get their COVID-19 vaccines. Please continue to be patient as we are in the very early stages of distribution,” Ivey said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. “Dr. Harris and his team are continually working to more efficiently get this vaccine into the arms of Alabamians. Our current supply remains limited, but we are committed to vaccinating as many Alabamians as possible. We will get shots in the arm and off the shelf. In the meantime, be patient, wear your mask and practice good common sense. Let’s get this thing behind us.”

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