Alabama could expand vaccines to 65 & older but still lacks sufficient supply

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama could expand its Phase 1b vaccinations to those 65 and older, according to Ryan Easterling, director of Health Media & Communications.

Easterling said this depends on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which can say that vaccinations need to be administered to that age group in the first phases of inoculation.

However, CDC director Robert Redfield said Tuesday that states need to start vaccinating those 65 and older and younger individuals with underlying conditions.

“We clearly have enough vaccine at this point to begin to expand,” Redfield said.

This comes as the Trump administration releases its reserves of COVID-19 vaccine in its final days.

However, even if Alabama were to expand its vaccinations to meet the wishes of federal officials, there might not be enough to go around at the moment.

“Our phase 1 priority group included about 326,000 people, and we will include people age 75 and older and first responders beginning Monday, January 18, which is almost another 400,000 people,” Easterling told WHDN. “We will certainly include people age 65-75 if that is the CDC recommendation, but that will add another 500,000 people throughout the state. That will be well over a million people that will each need to receive two doses of the vaccines that are currently available.”

Easterling said everyone will be able to get a vaccine, just not at the same time. Demand is simply too high.

As of last Monday, 271,925 doses of vaccine have been allocated for Alabama, but only 87,138 have been given to Alabama residents. On Jan. 9, 22,228 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 19,550 doses of the Moderna vaccine were given out.

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