Alabama officially hit 30% of fully vaccinated individuals with 1,416,394 people having finished the vaccine series, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Still, the state is far behind the rest of the country.
Dr. Karen Landers, the Assistant State Health Officer, says she is glad the state hit a new milestone, even though vaccination efforts varies county to county.
Madison County has the highest percentage in north Alabama at almost 40%, while DeKalb County has the lowest at nearly 19%.
Dr. Landers says while COVID-19 cases are low, that doesn’t eliminate the risk of catching the virus.
“The benefit of this vaccine is far, far greater than the risk of developing this disease,” she said.
News 19 asked one of the biggest questions surrounding the vaccine percentage: Are all those vaccinated included? If an Alabamian got vaccinated in another state, is it reflected in our states numbers, or theirs?
“We do not have the records of persons who were not vaccinated within our state,” said Dr. Landers. “So if a person were vaccinated in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi… then we do not have their record in Alabama.”
News 19 asked a follow-up question: “So do you think that might be part of the problem, why our numbers are so low, is because some people might actually be vaccinated, it just happened in a different state?”
“We know that only really occurred for a few weeks, that persons were going to other states… So I don’t think it affected our numbers drastically,” said Dr. Landers.
While that might not be be biggest issue, Dr. Landers says most problems, like transportation and access to vaccines have been addressed. She says the big issue now is combatting misinformation.
“I think one of the pieces of misinformation continues to be that the vaccine has not been through all of the clinical trials and safety measures that it should have been through… and that is not correct,” she said. “The vaccine actually did go through all of those trials. And also, there is ongoing vaccine safety monitoring.”
Dr. Landers says while COVID-19 cases are remaining low right now, she’s worried about the fall and winter. She’s urging people to go ahead and get vaccinated now in preparation.