HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The state of Alabama ranks low compared to other states when it comes to the percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
According to 2020, U.S. Census data, the population of the state is roughly 4.8 million people. As of now, the Alabama Department of Public Health reports that 2,357,615 people have gotten fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Doctors say it isn’t too late to get your first dose, complete your series, or get boosted.
Dr. Ali Hassoun, warns if you’ve started your 2-shot vaccine series, you should finish it. “One vaccine, one shot is not effective and it’s been shown that it’s really not useful,” he said. “You are going to need to have the whole series of vaccination,” he continued.
Being fully vaccinated means you got the initial dose of a vaccine, like Pfizer or Moderna, and then followed up and got the second dose. However, if you got your first dose, and haven’t yet gotten your second, it isn’t too late.
Dr. Wes Stubblefield, a District Medical Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, said you should still get your second shot. “Really, the thing we worry about more is (second doses) being too soon, rather than too far away,” he said. “Of course, we want folks to get the doses on the recommended schedule based on their age and on other considerations, but in general, no, you don’t need to restart the (vaccine) series you can pick up where you left off,” Dr. Stubblefield said.
In addition to getting the initial series, both doctors recommend getting boosted if you are eligible. “It’s been shown that it will make a huge difference if you get two shots,” Dr. Hassoun said.
Dr. Stubblefield said, “We know that the booster works, especially against going to the hospital, and especially for those that are high risk.”
While the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reports a significant amount of vaccination data, it doesn’t report the number of booster shots administered.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 892,770 booster shots have been administered in Alabama.
News 19 reached out to a few hospital systems in North Alabama for booster shot data. At this time, we’ve only heard back from Huntsville Hospital.
A Huntsville Hospital representative tells News 19, that it has administered 15,841 first-round booster doses since September. A second booster dose was approved for certain groups, and Huntsville Hospital says it has administered it to 1,740 people.
The doctors told News 19, that if you are eligible for a booster, you should get one. “If they know they are due a dose of vaccine or are concerned, then they should get that dose of vaccine,” said Dr. Stubblefield. “If they are one of those people that are over 50 that are considered for that second booster, that might be a decision they might want to make with their healthcare provider,” he continued.