Every person in Alabama age 16 and over is now eligible to receive a vaccine that protects against the coronavirus.
All coronavirus vaccines are being provided for free, regardless of whether a person has health insurance.
Governor Kay Ivey announced on Friday that all adults would be eligible on April 5, more than three weeks ahead of the May 1 date requested by the federal government.
Close watchers of the pandemic in Alabama hope the expansion of eligibility increases the rate of people getting vaccinated. For the last 14 days before Monday, various web portals where eligible citizens could sign up to get a vaccine showed many unfilled appointments.
Alabama’s State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris admitted on Friday that a major factor in expanding eligibility to all adults is that the state had an “available supply” of doses.
Since the middle of February, Alabama’s vaccination numbers had fallen into a routine of about 28,000-35,000 doses every weekday and around 12,000-16,000 doses given over the weekend.
In that time period, Alabama’s percentage of vaccine doses received to doses put in arms has stayed around 80%.
For the last three weeks, the rate of doses being administered stayed largely the same even as supply gradually increased.
Harris has said previously that the task in front of the state for April and beyond will largely be “to get people to take [the vaccines].”
Data distributed by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and many national polling groups have shown vaccine hesitancy to be a widespread issue, present in minority communities and among white evangelical Christians.
The United States has now given out more than 145 million doses of the vaccines, products that were extensively studied for months by many of the world’s best scientists.
A constantly updating comprehensive examination of the data shows the vaccines have been linked to zero deaths, while the nation’s current death toll from COVID-19 stands at about 555,000 people, including 10,638 Alabamians.
“[I]t is a great vaccine. It is a safe vaccine, and it is something that works,” former President Donald Trump told Fox News in March.
Virtually every doctor in the United States has now received one of the vaccines.
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.