Every citizen of Alabama age 16 and over will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccines beginning on Monday, April 5.
Governor Kay Ivey announced the expansion alongside State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris during a tour of a vaccination clinic in Wilcox County on Friday.
“Please take advantage of this great and easy resource,” Ivey said of the coronavirus vaccines.
The decision comes nearly a month ahead of President Joe Biden’s request that all Americans be made eligible for the vaccines by May 1.
“Truly, this vaccine is our ticket back to normal life,” said Ivey.
“We’re expanding because we do have available supply,” explained Harris in response to a question at the end of the announcement.
Harris said that it is hard to tell if the availability of vaccine appointments Alabama has seen in the last week is due to hesitancy to take the vaccines among citizens or members of the public being confused about whether they were eligible for the vaccine products.
Notably, the Pfizer vaccine product is the only of the three approved vaccines to be approved for individuals between ages 16 and 18. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines are approved for people age 18 and over.
“Get the vaccine you can get,” said Dr. Mary McIntryre of ADPH on Friday, urging citizens not to pick and choose which vaccine product to receive.
Harris said on Friday that Alabama is expecting 160,000 new first doses of vaccine product next week.
“I’ve certainly had both of the shots, and I’m proud to encourage everyone to get their shot,” Ivey said Friday.
Harris has been vaccinated in addition to Ivey, as have nearly all doctors in the United States.
Former President Donald Trump was vaccinated in January.
“[I]t is a great vaccine. It is a safe vaccine, and it is something that works,” Trump told Fox News in March.
U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) said last month, “Our best defense against this virus is making sure all Americans get the vaccine.”
“We are so close to getting COVID-19 in the rearview,” Ivey relayed. “Until then, we should all keep wearing our masks, get vaccinated and use the common sense the good Lord gave us.”
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: email@example.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.