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Ivey announces COVID-19 vaccination to include 16 and older

On Friday, during a visit to the Alabama National Guard mobile vaccination clinic in Wilcox County, Gov. Kay Ivey announced that beginning, April 5, ADPH will extend the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to include 16 and older.

“I have committed to the people of Alabama that we are on a path forward, and while there is more work to be done, I remain hopeful and optimistic in where we are going. Recent findings from the CDC show preliminary data suggesting that vaccinated individuals do not appear to be spreading the virus, so that is hopeful, underscores the effectiveness of the vaccine and is yet another reason to get the shot,” Ivey said. “Truly, this vaccine is our ticket back to normal life. We are so close to getting COVID-19 in the rearview, and until then, we should all keep wearing our masks, get vaccinated and use the common sense the good Lord gave us.”

The Pfizer vaccine is available to individuals age 16 and up, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are both available to individuals 18 years of age and older.

With this expansion, there will be close to 4 million eligible individuals in the state of Alabama. Currently, the state receives approximately 115,000 first doses each week.

“In the initial phases of our vaccine allocation plan, we have given just over 1.7 million shots. These shots have gone to more than 1.1 million Alabamians most at risk of illness and death due to COVID-19,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “As progress has been made, equitable vaccine distribution has been and remains a driving force in immunizing state residents. The increased supply of safe and effective vaccines means all adults who wish to be vaccinated are now eligible to receive the protection vaccines offer.”

Under the current plan, high-risk medical conditions include but are not limited to the following: cancer; chronic kidney disease; COPD; heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state; solid organ transplant; obesity BMI >30 kg/m2; sickle cell disease; smoking; type 1 diabetes; type 2 diabetes; pregnancy; or other medical conditions as determined by your medical provider.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control(CDC), as of April 1, more than 99 million people in the U.S. had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 56 million people have been fully vaccinated. 

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reports 1,765,351 doses have been administered in the State of Alabama.

According to CDC data as of April 2, locally in Chambers County, 10 percent of the county’s population has been fully vaccinated, including 29.8 percent of individuals aged 65 and over and 12.6 percent of people aged 18 and over.

In comparison, in neighboring Troup County 4.1 percent of the county’s population has been fully vaccinated, 14.4 percent of Lee County residents have been fully vaccinated and in Randolph County 11.9 percent of the county’s population has been fully vaccinated.

The East Alabama Medical Center’s Community Vaccine Clinic surpassed 60,000 total doses on March 22 and continues to provide 1,200-1,500 shots per day, according to EAMC Public Relations and Marketing Director John Atkinson. 

“Our COVID-19 hospitalizations remain relatively low and we appreciate everyone’s support to keep it that way. Between vaccinations and people better understanding how to keep themselves safe, we’re encouraged that 2021 will continue to outperform 2020,” Atkinson said.

The clinic is open Monday-Thursday. To register, go to www.eastalcovidvaccine.com.