BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Pharmaceutical company Moderna is now asking the FDA to allow for an emergency rollout of their vaccine for the coronavirus. The FDA is already considering another vaccine from Pfizer.
Alabama is getting ready and should be ready by December 7th. In fact, the Alabama Department of Public Health conducted an exercise to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, even though there is no vaccine in the state just yet.
Moderna will help add to the supply of vaccines the state wants to get. Alabama was hoping to get up to 400,000 doses of a vaccine at first rollout. The state found out from the FDA their first shipment would be 112,000, but late last week the Alabama Department of Health learned that number was cut to 40,000 doses. This will be the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses. This still means 40,000 people will be able to get it. The state will receive a second shipment later. Doctors and nurses who are treating COVID patients will be at the top of the list first.
“There is going to be a lot of people in the top priority group who deserve the vaccine who won’t be able to get it for a while. There is going to be an urban rural divide around this vaccine because of the storage requirements around this vaccine. It has to be kept at -80 centigrade. There is not a lot of areas where that can happen,” said Alabama Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.
Dr. Harris says hospitals will not be able to fill all their worker’s needs on the first allotment. There are between 200,000 and 300,000 healthcare workers in Alabama.
Dr. Harris says states need more funding from the federal government to help with the distribution. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Tuesday to discuss the vaccine priority list again.