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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Monday marked the first day that a much larger number of Alabamians are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

But, it appears the demand for vaccine will exceed supply for some time to come.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris Friday spelled out the challenges ahead.

“Probably between half and two-thirds of all the adults in the state are going to be covered at that point (March 22),” Harris said. “So that will be a significant increase in demand. We believe, at this point, our number of first doses we’re expecting this next week is going to be between 110,000 and 120,000 doses.

“That’s a slight increase in Moderna; it’s a definite increase in the Pfizer vaccine we’re getting at this point. We still don’t have any indication that we’re getting Johnson and Johnson for the remainder of the month.”

Two-thirds of Alabama’s adult population could be as many 2.6 million people.

The eligibility list now includes people 55 and older, those with serious illnesses and other health conditions and the list includes additional workers whose jobs increase the likelihood they could come into contact with the virus.            

Huntsville Hospital reports it will do 5,000 vaccinations this week, split evenly between first and second doses.

Huntsville Hospital also reports it has more than 40,000 people waiting for vaccination appointments in Madison County and 10,000 to 15,000 more people waiting for appointments through other system hospitals in the region.

The vaccinations are being given by hospitals and clinics, state health department offices in virtually every Alabama county, along with Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.

News 19 did an informal survey of those sites today and saw various Alabama health department sites go from listing 1,000 shots next week to no appointments available.

Walmart’s vaccination website indicated that for Huntsville and the surrounding area Monday no vaccine was currently available, and Walgreens and CVS sites said they didn’t have any vaccine over the next five days in Huntsville.

But the pharmacies shipments come from the federal government and the volumes could change.

Walmart’s site also wasn’t updated Monday morning to reflect the expanded eligibility, and as of 5:45 p.m. Monday it still hadn’t updated, but company officials said that will change.

Huntsville Hospital says it’s done 70,000 vaccinations in Madison County and 41,000 in the rest of the North Alabama region.

The state reports 1.43 million people have received at least one shot and 550,869 people have been fully vaccinated.