Expanding COVID-19 vaccinations to more people

Vaccine guidelines

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services called for the expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday. They want to include those who are 65 years old and older. The department also wants those under 65 with health conditions to start getting those shots.

No one has been happy with the rollout of the vaccine. A lot of health leaders believe the process is too slow and the supply too little. Another recommendation Tuesday also called for dipping into the supply of second doses of the vaccine reserves to get more shots into arms.

The state of Alabama is supposed to have received 271,000 doses of the vaccine at this point, but so far only about 87,000 doses of the vaccines have been given.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said Alabama continues to struggle with getting enough vaccines for those who need it. “We have to look at our supply. Even though we know more supply is coming, we have to look at our supply,” Landers said.

Landers said we need more vaccine providers in the state. At this time, they have 247 providers. The health department wants to get to 400. Landers would like to see more people getting the vaccine, but she has questions.

“As a physician, I’m pleased. As a healthcare provider, I want to be sure we can manage those numbers,” Landers said.

Governor Kay Ivey, who received her second shot Tuesday, is encouraging people to be patient and continue to register for those vaccines. “Get in line and be patient as you wait. Get in line. I want to encourage you to get the COVID vaccinations. We need shots in arms, not on the shelf,” Ivey said.

Dr. Landers is concerned about dipping into the second dose reserves. She wants to be sure that those who get the shot will have the supply for the second shot in a timely manner. Dr. Harris said they are still waiting for final guidance from the CDC on the expanded vaccinations.

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