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Alabama nearing 1 million citizens receiving vaccine dose; Eligibility for all coming soon

MONTGOMERY — If current trends hold, the one-millionth Alabamian to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose will be reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health in the next two days, and all adults in the state will soon be eligible, according to the Yellowhammer State’s top doctor.

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris briefed the public on the state’s vaccination process at the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) office in Montgomery.

“We are going to be able to expand eligibility [to all adults] well before May 1,” said Harris on Friday, adding that his department was in “discussions with the governor’s office” on the subject.

President Joe Biden, earlier in 2021, established May 1 as the goal for all American adults to be eligible for the vaccines.

A handful of states have already opened up eligibility to all citizens, and another group has announced March or April dates for when all citizens will be eligible for the vaccines. All told, more than 40 states have committed to beating Biden’s May 1 deadline.

ADPH’s coronavirus dashboard currently reports 985,078 Alabamians have received at least one dose of the vaccines, which is more than 20% of the state’s population.

The most recent data available is from Wednesday, March 24, meaning Alabama’s millionth person to receive a vaccine dose has likely already gotten their shot.

Currently, 581,714 citizens of Alabama have completed their vaccination process.

In the case of those receiving Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine products, this means someone has gotten both of the two doses required.

For people receiving Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which is only one dose, they complete their vaccination immediately.

Authorities advise that it takes around two weeks after a person’s final dose of any of the vaccines before their body is considered fully vaccinated.

Harris said that Alabama is now receiving around 110,000 doses of vaccine product every week.

He also noted that the state has been informed that it will receive two temporary boosts in its supply next week, one of Pfizer’s vaccine and the other of Johnson & Johnson’s. The two extra allotments will bring the state’s doses received to 156,730 for the week.

“The real issue is going to be to get people to take it,” lamented Harris.

“The script is going to flip completely from a month ago when people couldn’t find the vaccine no matter how hard they looked,” Harris explained. “In April, we’re going to have the opposite problem.”

“We’re going to have a lot of vaccine on the shelf and we’re going to be really trying hard to get people to take it,” Alabama’s top doctor added.

A poll released by ADPH relayed that some amount of hesitancy exists among nearly all demographic groups in Alabama, with the most cited factor being the “speed with which the vaccine was developed.”

Nearly all doctors around the country have taken the vaccine, according to a report from the publication Medical Economics.

This result appears to indicate a high level of trust in the vaccines among the people many citizens turn to most often with their health care decisions.

Notably, Harris himself has received the vaccine, as has former President Donald Trump.

All three vaccine products were tested in studies with tens of thousands of people; all three were completely effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Around 126 million doses of the vaccines have now been given in the United States. A review showed that the vaccines have caused zero deaths.

The CDC is currently reporting that there have been around 30 million cases of COVID-19 in the USA, which has led to 543,975 deaths, including 10,523 Alabamians, as of Friday afternoon.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.