From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Friday that COVID-19 vaccinations will be provided for people 75 years or older and first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters, statewide by appointment only effective Jan. 18.
Appointments at locations throughout the state are made first come, first serve, according to a release from ADPH.
“I appreciate the swift work of ADPH to establish a system to efficiently provide our limited resources of vaccine to as many Alabamians as possible,” Gov. Ivey said. “We have previously worked to provide vaccines to our health care workers who are on the front lines of the pandemic, and now, are diligently working to expand access to our seniors, law enforcement officers and various members of our first responders. It is critical for everyone to remain patient; demand is high, and supply is low. ADPH and their partners are working around the clock to assist as many people as they can.”
Alabama continues to vaccinate more than 326,000 health care workers and nursing home residents who are most at-risk of contracting COVID-19. As the vaccine uptake for this category is satisfied, ADPH is now encouraging sites to vaccinate persons in the 75-plus age group and those in the law enforcement and firefighter vocations in order to prevent any loss of vaccine due to cold chain storage requirements.
“We recognize that demand for vaccine exceeds supply,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “While there is still an insufficient amount of the vaccine supply, we want to maximize our resources to help protect Alabamians at high risk. County health departments are working with their local points of distribution to assess what their vaccination reach has been. Decisions about the next groups to vaccinate are made at the community level with community engagement. If the very high-risk population has been covered adequately, providers can then begin vaccinating people in the other priority groups.”
Nearly 350,000 people in the state of Alabama would qualify for a vaccine at 75 years old and older.
To schedule an appointment for the free COVID-19 vaccination at a county health department, individuals may call the ADPH toll-free phone number at 1-855-566-5333. Telephone calls are answered from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week. Vaccination locations can be viewed at this link, https://go.usa.gov/xARKp and additional specific information, such as what to bring and what to wear, will be provided when appointments are made.
If wanting to be vaccinated at sites other than a county health department, such as a private provider, individuals should contact those sites directly. For information about COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://go.usa.gov/xARKE.