BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More Alabamians are getting one of the COVID vaccinations. Supply is increasing, but state health leaders are worried that the demand for vaccine may slow down.
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris is pleased the numbers are going up, but he is concerned the demand may be dropping and supply will soon out stretch that demand.
The latest vaccine dashboard from the Alabama Department of Public Health shows more than 2 million doses have been given out in Alabama. Just under 800,000 residents have been fully vaccinated.
“One of the reasons we expanded eligibility last week was because demand had flattened out. We were beginning to see open appointments. We were beginning to see vaccine accumulate just a little bit,” Harris said.
Last week, the state health department expanded eligibility to include all residents 16 and older. Harris said a few vials of vaccine had been wasted, but those numbers are increasing due to lower demand.
“The last number I heard was less than a hundred doses, but that was a couple of weeks ago. I think it is higher. We don’t think there is any large scale lost at all,” Harris said.
Harris said some wasted vials are expected, especially since more vaccine like Pfizer is going out to rural area and those vials could give out 1,100 doses, making it hard to use them all.
The health officer said it’s not surprising to see in about three weeks, supply will outstrip demand. That is what they expected by the end of April.
“We certainly recognize there is some hesitancy in some Black communities. At the same time, there is a different hesitancy among rural white communities,” Harris said.
Dr. Harris said there is no one reason vaccines do well in one area over another county. Some Black Belt counties lead the state in vaccinations. Larger counties like Jefferson County continue to see a big demand, as well.