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Low COVID vaccination rate in East Alabama County

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 9:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Several rural counties in East Alabama are still lagging in vaccinations.

According to the state’s health department, only 18% of Cleburne County’s population is vaccinated, making them one of the lowest counties in the state.

State health officials tell access isn’t an issue for people in these counties.

A pharmacy in Heflin says they went from administering 40-50 vaccines a day to now about 20 a week. They have more than enough vaccines available, but not enough people coming in.

Cleburne County pharmacist Ryan Jackson says he’s heard it all, when it comes the Covid-19 vaccine and hesitancy.

“I have heard some of these off the wall conspiracy theories that there’s tracking chips in them,” says Jackson. “They can cause you to be magnetized and just crazy off the wall stuff.”

More common, are questions about side effects and how the vaccine works. Jackson says an issue he continues to see is patients who felt bad after their first dose, not coming back for their second.

“I would educate them that with just one you don’t get the full effectiveness,” says Jackson. “You’re not going to be as they said the ninety five percent covered. They said it doesn’t matter. We don’t want to go through that again.”

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says his office is working with our bordering states to make sure Alabamians aren’t going over there for healthcare.

“Access to vaccines is not the biggest issue for our lowest counties,” says Dr. Harris. “I certainly wouldn’t say there’s no issue for anyone. But that’s not the biggest issue right now. We have some reason to think that people might get their healthcare across the state lines.”

We spoke with several clinics and health departments throughout East Alabama today. Many saying they’d like to see more people receive vaccinations.

Here are some of the locations:

  • Wright Drug Company
  • Cleburne County Health Department
  • Cleburne Medical Clinic
  • Regional Medical Clinic
  • Etowah County Health Department

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