BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Today Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris announced Alabama will be seeing an increase in COVID 19 vaccines coming to the state as more healthcare providers are coming online to give the shots.
Right now healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, those in the food industry and those 65 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine,
The vaccine dashboard from ADPH shows there are more than a million doses in the state and 839,000 have been given. That’s about 77% of the allotment. The other doses have been allocated out. Dr. Harris said the state will be getting between 90-to-100,000 doses each week. The Retail Pharmacy program will be sending additional doses to Walmart and CVS.
“Please remember we will have a shot for everyone. Everyone who wants a shot will get one. We still have a little ways to go to get around to everyone. In the meantime, you can keep your loved one save by following the advice we have been giving for a year now. Please stay home if you can. If you must go out wear a mask and stay away from other people,” Harris said.
Dr. Harris said six large vaccination sites will be open next week March 1st-March 5th for second round shots.
Dr. Suzanna Judd, a UAB epidemiologist said Alabama could hit herd immunity by late spring or early summer.
Dr. Judd has said it will take about 72% of the country getting vaccinated or being exposed to COVID 19, recovering and developing antibodies for herd immunity to take effect. And that could happen anywhere from May to October.
Dr. Harris has seen the research and says it is impressive but it also says there are various factors which will affect the final result. . Dr. Harris said while hospitalizations and positive COVID cases are down to get to herd immunity will still take time and there is always a threat of surges again.
“She was very clear about her assumptions and what she can address. Like the emergence of variants and the addition of more product like Johnson and Johnson,” Harris said.
The Johnson and Johnson one dose vaccine could get its emergency declaration by this weekend. This will provide three vaccine choices out there for people. Health leaders are urging people not to wait for one vaccine over another.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been praised because they were tested and proved to be about 95% effective against COVID 19.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a step forward because it’s just one dose while the other vaccines require two doses. That means it can get to more people quicker. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is said to be about 72% effective against the infectious diseases. But health leaders say when it comes to protecting you against getting severely sick or hospitalized all three about the same. Doctors and health officer are speaking out over a rumor that Pfizer and Moderna are better. They urge people to take whatever vaccine is available once you are eligible. Jefferson County’s Health Officer Mark Wilson agreed.
“As we get into this further we may have by this summer or maybe by the fall, five different vaccines people can choose from and be readily available. Then we will have the luxury to decide what you prefer.” Dr. Mark Wilson said.
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says Johnson and Johnson may take longer to rollout. They won’t have as many doses ready to go out the gate like Pfizer and Moderna did. There is hope for 10 million doses by June.