Alabama among states with lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate

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ALABAMA – The Alabama Department of Public Health has released the latest figures for how many people have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

42,810 vaccines have been administered, as of January 4th. That is only 19 percent of the total doses provided to the state.

According to CDC data released Monday, Alabama ranks number four in the country for states with the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate. There are 7 states that have vaccinated less than 1,000 people per 100,000.

The states with the lowest vaccination rates are Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, North Carolina and Michigan.

“We’re going to move past, we’re going to move forward, we are aggressively vaccinating everyday in the state of Alabama,” said Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

While the state’s dashboard says 42,810 vaccines have been administered, the state has been allocated 226,250.

Dr. Landers says at the beginning of the roll out only 15 hospitals in the state were provided vaccine.

“These were hospitals that were able to handle the ultra cold and of course the second week the additional product was approved and that product was able to be allocated more widely,” Landers stated.

She adds there are now more sites administering vaccines, including county health departments.

“I was talking about local county health departments today. I’ve talked to a number of them as I’m the medical consultant for the vaccine. And I have health departments that are giving 120 doses, 150 doses, over 200 doses as well as other situations and hospitals that are actively vaccinating.”

Landers says Alabama is still in Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout, which provides doses specifically for medical personnel and people in long term care facilities.

However, some regions of the state are moving through that phase faster than others.

Calhoun County announced they are going to start vaccinating a portion of people in Phase 1B, those who are 75 and older.

Landers says counties have the green light to begin vaccinating certain populations of people in Phase 1B if…

“Their Phase 1A has been adequately covered in terms of persons already being vaccinated, having an appointment to be vaccinated, or if persons in Phase 1A has been part of the outreach and have declined to be vaccinated,” Landers said.

She says there are about 300,000 people in the state who are in Phase 1A, eligible for the vaccine, but that doesn’t mean they’ll take it.

Landers says some counties employ a large number of medical workers, while others don’t.

When exactly does a county meet that criteria to move to the next phase? At this point, there’s no clear answer.

“It’s difficult to put a percentage on. I was on a CDC call yesterday and states were discussing wide ranges of percentages,” she stated.

Huntsville Hospital reports it has vaccinated 7,406 people so far, across its North Alabama system.
The hospital received an initial supply of 6,825 Pfizer doses in December.

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