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Ivey asks for patience from public on COVID vaccine

“We will get shots in the arm and off the shelf. In the meantime, be patient,” Ivey said.

Gov. Kay Ivey held a press conference at Birmingham Regional Airport Monday, January 11, 2020 in Montgomery, Alabama.(HAL YEAGER/GOVERNOR'S OFFICE)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey asked the public to be patient as the state works to improve the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Through Saturday, the state has received 370,575 doses of COVID-19 vaccine but has administered just 130,394 doses to this point. 

“I am thankful so many Alabamians are willing and ready to get their COVID-19 vaccines,” Ivey said. “Please continue to be patient as we are in the very early stages of distribution. 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.”

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two-shot vaccines so each person vaccinated has to get a second dose of the vaccine, meaning that vaccinating just 80 percent of Alabama’s population would require nearly 8 million doses of the vaccines.

The state is in the process of vaccinating residents of long-term care facilities and health care workers. The state will begin offering the vaccines to all residents over the age of 75 as early as next week. State School Superintendent Eric Mackey said earlier this week that public school teachers could start getting the vaccines at some point in February.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reports that 6,121 Alabamians have died from COVID-19. The real death toll is likely higher, but there is a significant lag time between when a COVID patient actually succumbs to the disease and when the state reports it. Some 2,716 Alabamians were hospitalized Sunday night suffering with complications from COVID-19. ADPH announced Monday that 1,430 more Alabamians had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The CDC is making recommendations for who should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine first when supplies are limited. To help guide decisions about how to distribute limited initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have published recommendations. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available. Each individual state health department is responsible for developing and implementing its own COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was first discovered in China late in 2019. While the virus often has mild if any symptoms, in about 20 percent of cases — a significant portion — it can be very challenging and often fatal. To this point, more than 2 million people have died in the COVID-19 pandemic, including 405,261 Americans.

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The state of Alabama remains under a “safer-at-home” order and masks are required when visiting any public place.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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