Health officials predict vaccine supply surge coming soon

Vaccine surge for Alabama ?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Alabama still outweighs the supply being given to the state, but local health officials said a surge in doses is coming soon.

“It’s a good surge,” UAB infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Saag said. “I would call it a vaccine availability surge.”

Saag said the struggle to find available vaccine will soon come to an end.

“My prediction is by mid to late April, first part of May, most of us will be able to access a vaccine shot,” Dr. Saag said.

Dr. Karen Landers with the state health department said the state has more than 1,000 approved covid-19 vaccine providers, but because of low supply, only around 400 locations are getting Moderna vaccine and only 27 are getting Pfizer.

But, Dr. Landers said more MRNA vaccines could be coming.

“We have been advised about different amounts of vaccine that could become available in May and could become available in June,” she said. “That’s of the MRNA products.”

The state’s vaccine allotment just recently increased from 60 to 70 thousand doses a week. Now, it is going to be around 90 thousand doses a week.

“I have heard from Pfizer and Moderna that they are going to give us around 140 million new doses in the next six to eight weeks,” Dr. Saag said.

Saag predicts that by the start of June everyone will have access to shots, including children.

“As we go into the summer months, especially May, June, July, we will be vaccinating children just like we have the adults,” Saag said. “That is when we can start really seeing the concept of heard immunity and we will be able to get this under control.”

But, even with a third vaccine, Johnson and Johnson, and more supply coming, Dr. Landers said everyone still needs to be patient.

“A lot of good news,” she said. “But, it is still going to require some patients from everyone as this continues to move forward.”

Dr. Saag said he expects studies on children and the vaccines will be released in the next few months.

“My guess is by April or May, that will be released,” he said. “My best guess is that it will be shown to be safe and effective.”

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