Alabama will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to anyone age 55 and older, and anyone over 16 with certain health conditions, including heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and more beginning March 22.
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris made the announcement during a press briefing Friday morning in Montgomery, saying the state would also offer the vaccine to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and additional categories of essential workers listed under Phase 1C of the state’s vaccine plan.
“We have been concerned that many people at high risk and others engaged in close contact work have not been eligible to receive the vaccine yet, but with the additional vaccine supply we are better able to meet the needs of Alabama residents,” Governor Kay Ivey said in a news release. “Starting March 22, individuals can be assured of receiving the shots they have been patiently waiting to get.”
Alabama has distributed more than 1.2 million doses of the vaccine as of numbers reported Friday morning, with more than 760,000 Alabamians having received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“That’s an amazing amount of work done by an amazing group of people,” Harris said.
On March 22, people with the following conditions will be eligible for the vaccine:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state
- Solid organ transplant
- Obesity, BMI greater than 30
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 1 and 2 diabetes
- Other medical conditions as determined by your medical provider
In addition, workers in the following fields will be eligible for the vaccine:
- Transportation and logistics
- Waste and wastewater
- Food service (includes restaurant staff)
- Shelter and housing (construction)
- Finance (bank tellers)
- Information technology and communication
- Public safety (engineers)
Alabama veterans of any age can receive the vaccine at several VA hospitals around the state.
The move was announced a day after President Joe Biden pledged to make all adults eligible to receive the vaccine by May 1.
Harris said expanding the eligibility will likely double the number of people who are eligible for the vaccine, but urged patience as the new wave of people are offered the vaccine.
“People have been patient for so long and we’re really very, very close to having enough vaccine to go around,” Harris said. “I think in a month, probably, six weeks at least, there’s going to be a really more than adequate
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to reach full effectiveness and have been authorized for emergency use in the United States since December 2020. A third vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson, requires only a single dose and was granted its emergency authorization in late February.
Harris said the supply of vaccines in Alabama has been gradually increasing, with the state expected to receive between 110,000 and 120,000 doses of vaccine per week, plus a separate allocation that is sent to retail pharmacies like Walmart and CVS through a federal program.