MONTGOMERY — Alabama Governor Kay Ivey received her second and final dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, after which she urged the public to get vaccinated when eligible.
“I haven’t had any side effects of any kind,” the governor reported after receiving her second dose, which was administered at Baptist South Hospital in Montgomery.
Pfizer’s vaccine requires two shots given 21 days apart and then a two-week wait before it becomes fully effective.
“I just want to encourage you to take the COVID vaccination. We need shots in arms, not on the shelf,” the governor told the public.
Ivey’s receiving of her second dose comes as Alabama is still in the midst of vaccinating the citizens in what has been termed Phase 1A: health care workers and nursing home residents.
The governor’s completion of her vaccine dosing regimen — she got her first shot in December — comes as reports from across the nation indicate a surprising vaccine hesitancy among a number of health care workers.
“It is hard to say,” Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris replied on Tuesday when Yellowhammer News asked how much hesitancy there had been among health care workers in Alabama.
“It is not easy to know why they don’t come,” he said of individuals not taking advantage of their chance to get the vaccine.
“We certainly acknowledge there is hesitancy out there. A lot of that are people who are waiting to see other people get it first, and I think we’ll get them on board,” Harris remarked.
Notably, Harris himself received his second dose of the vaccine on Tuesday. Prominent voices in Alabama’s battle against the pandemic such as Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo of UAB Hospital have been vocal advocates for the vaccine and taken it themselves.
Marrazzo tweeted, “Thanks [Governor Kay Ivey] for being an excellent role model #VaccinesWork #VaccinesSaveLives,” in response to the news that Ivey had gotten her second dose on Tuesday.
Ivey reiterated multiple times on Tuesday that the vaccine will be free to all residents of Alabama.
Beginning Monday, January 18, all Alabamians age 75 and over as well as all first responders will be eligible to receive their initial doses.
The state’s COVID-19 scheduling hotline — 1-855-566-5333 — has been overwhelmed with calls since going online last week.
“Please do not call the appointment line if you do not qualify to schedule a vaccine at this time. Due to the overwhelming amount of calls, our target population cannot get through to schedule their appointments,” advises the Alabama Department of Public Health on its website.
The governor called the high number of calls “a good sign” with regards to the public’s interest in getting vaccinated.
Ivey said Monday, “Just be patient, calm, and let’s focus on getting this COVID virus behind us.”