HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Alabama Department of Public Health reports 1.37 million people have been fully vaccinated in Alabama against COVID-19.
But that number still leaves Alabama 49th in the country in vaccinations per 100,000 residents, ahead of only Mississippi, according to CDC figures.
Dr. Karen Landers of the Alabama Department of Public Health said today Alabama, at 29 percent, is well below desired vaccination levels.
Health officials said vaccine supply is not an issue. Landers said ADPH is facing a continuing battle against misinformation about vaccine safety and other issues, including people mistakenly thinking they have to pay for a shot – in fact, it’s free.
Landers said another concern is reproductive health. She said the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a recent study say that is not a problem.
The Alabama Department of Public Health said case rates have fallen over the past few months as people get vaccinated and some immunity remains for those who’ve gotten COVID-19. Landers said the Memorial Day weekend — with gatherings and plenty of travel — will be a test.
Landers said Alabama is well below the vaccination rates that would be desirable — 50 percent or better. And there is concern that unvaccinated residents, think things are back to normal. She said people who are unvaccinated should continue to use “mitigation” strategies like masking and social distancing, but she doubts they are heeding that advice.
“Persons who are not vaccinated do feel that they can pretty much engage in any activity that they wish to engage in, but their risk hasn’t changed, as opposed to persons who are vaccinated and largely have protection against this virus,” Landers said.
ADPH’s dashboard shows the following vaccine totals for North Alabama:
- Colbert Co. 16,733 people fully vaccinated, 30 percent of county population
- DeKalb Co. 14,078 fully vaccinated; 20 percent of population
- Franklin Co. 31,362 fully vaccinated, 25 percent of population
- Jackson Co. 11,625 fully vaccinated, 22 percent of population
- Lawrence Co. 8,311 fully vaccinated, 25 percent of population
- Lauderdale Co. 26,2129 fully vaccinated, 28 percent of population
- Madison County 122, 112, 33 percent of population
- Marshall Co. 23,597 fully vaccinated, 24 percent of population
- Morgan Co. 33,678 fully vaccinated, 28 percent of population
Dr. Landers said Monday ADPH is discussing possible incentives for people who choose to get vaccinated. She said the hope is that the incentives message will draw people’s attention to the correct scientific and health information concerning the COVID-19 vaccine.
Landers wants young people to understand, while the disease may not be severe for many young people, it can be and they can spread it to more vulnerable people without realizing it.