Alabama health leaders question if the worst of the pandemic is over

Is the worst over?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Numbers continue to drop across the country and here in Alabama for COVID 19 cases and hospitalizations. This comes as more people today are now eligible for getting their COVID-19 shots.

The Cathedral of the Cross church became the fourth community UAB vaccine site in Jefferson County. It planned to be open all week. That’s good news for efforts to stem the pandemic.

UAB stopped providing vaccines shortly after lunch Monday. The Alabama Department of Public Health believes this helped provide more shots in arms to end the pandemic as more people become eligible.

“We do have a situation where we are expanding the allocation and we are expanding the phases but the vaccine supply is still lower than we would like it for to be.” Dr. Karen Landers said.

Still there is optimism. AstraZeneca vaccine could come on the market soon. This would give the country four available vaccines. A former CDC director has said it looks like the worst of the pandemic may be over.

“We are vaccinating more people. We have more out in terms of vaccinating people but it is not time to abandon the mitigation standards,” Landers said.

That means don’t give up on wearing masks and staying out of crowds, Alabama’s positivity rate has dropped to below 6% after being double digit. Landers said while the country and state of Alabama are heading in the right direction, victory may still be a ways off.

“I would say we need to give this a few more months. We need to look at mid-summer before we can feel real comfortable,” Landers said.

Dr. Landers said dropping your safety measures after getting shots, seeing warmer weather and the urge to get out into crowds are concerns. This along with the threat of the variant virus has her and other health officials still urging caution before she is willing to say the worst is over.

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