Vaccination rate decreasing in Alabama

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 7:41 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The state of Alabama is facing a drop in the number of people getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The state is fighting vaccine hesitancy. State health leaders believe information about vaccines is the main way to combat hesitancy and to try and make shots even more accessible.

The latest vaccine distribution dashboard shows the state has received more than 3.9 million doses. At least one dose has been given to 2.5 million people and 1.1 million have been fully vaccinated.

“If we are going to get back to normal, we are going to have to stop this disease from circulating and deaths every day in Alabama which is what we have now,” said Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

But when it comes to vaccinations, Alabama ranks near the bottom.

“I think we have had a drop off in people going for the vaccine and I’m sure the Johnson & Johnson issues that were brought up a few weeks ago did not help at all,” said Dr. Wesley Willeford.

Fifteen women developed blood clots out of more than seven million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Getting young people 16 and older to get the vaccine is key. Last week on a webinar by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Dr. David Hicks announced the Jefferson County Department of Health hoped to reach out through targeted social media.

“If you think about the traditional Facebook and Twitter, a lot of our young people have migrated off those platforms. They are using Instagram and TikTok,” Hicks said.

Increasing vaccinations is the major way for the state to control the pandemic spread.

“COVID-19 can cut down someone in their teens, in their twenties as well as 65 and older,” Willeford said.

State and county health leaders plan to reach out into communities where access is limited.

The state health department plans to still use the National Guard to get to many rural areas. The county is teaming with various organizations such as senior services to get to people. This will provide better access, but Dr. Hicks admits this may be a low impact on getting large numbers.

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