As soon as mid-December, healthcare providers and the chronically ill in Alabama could begin receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
U.S. Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, recently spoke with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris about the rapid progress which will make it possible for an initial supply of vaccine products to be available in the state as soon as a vaccine is authorized.
Large amounts of a vaccine from different companies have already been produced and stored while clinical trials are ongoing. Extraordinary precautions are taken to protect the stockpiles of the vaccine, including armed guards. The federal government will allocate initial vaccine supplies to states and jurisdictions.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to take approximately two weeks to review vaccine products. As soon as the FDA makes its review, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will study the data and make recommendations. After the FDA confirms a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and when an Emergency Use Authorization is received, vaccine kits will be shipped to several locations statewide and pre-positioned to provide immunizations in Alabama.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is following its three-phased COVID-19 vaccine plan. ADPH continues to enroll community partners in its statewide population-based immunization electronic registry system, ImmPRINT (Immunization Patient Registry with Integrated Technology) to provide a COVID-19 vaccine. These include private sector partners, including medical facilities and health care providers, who will administer the vaccine. Persons identified to receive a vaccination first include healthcare workers and first responders.
All Americans can receive their initial vaccine treatment without any charge, including people with no health insurance. Perna and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris emphasized that the goal is for all people to have access to the free vaccine regardless of their financial status or location. Distribution of the vaccine will be made equitably to those most at risk, the chronically ill and seniors, in all 67 Alabama counties.
A new proprietary software program called “Tiberius” links databases that track every COVID-19 vaccine dose from manufacture to patient inoculation. Most vaccine candidates require patients to receive two doses at a certain time interval apart. The stated goal of Operation Warp Speed is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures).
Alabama COVID-19 vaccine information is available by going to alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/vaccine.html
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