Alabama’s COVID vaccine supply won’t be cut

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 5:02 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Health leaders across the country were worried about the federal government cutting their supplies of COVID-19 vaccines. The Biden Administration is looking to reallocate vaccines to states where higher demand is higher.

There was concern, but last Friday Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris spoke with administration representatives about the supplies sent to Alabama. Dr. Harris said he was told there will not be any cuts anytime soon.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reports the state has received more than four million doses of vaccine, but demand for those shots is not where health leaders want it to be.

“We wish there was more demand than we are seeing. We have vaccinated more than a million and a half people with one shot. I think we are passed 1.2 million people vaccinated in the state. That is really around a third of where we would like to be,” Harris said.

Some states have asked the federal government to cut back their weekly supplies of vaccine because the demand has dropped. Harris was worried that the federal government might cut Alabama’s supplies because of a drop in demand.

“If we choose to not to pull down vaccines and notify the feds then they will take some that is not pulled down and send it elsewhere. It doesn’t happen automatically. It only happens if we say we’re willing to do it,” Harris said.

Alabama is currently receiving 140,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines each week. About 8,000 of those doses are Johnson & Johnson. But the state is still not reaching everyone to get those shots.

“People who are homebound. People who don’t have transportation. By and large, the biggest issue are people on the fence. People who have not made up their mind. We are still hoping to reach those people,” Harris said.

Dr. Harris said Pfizer is expected to get an emergency declaration authorization this week to expand to 12 and older. This will increase demand, but Harris says only if their parents are getting shots.

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