Health officials urge Alabamians to get COVID-19 vaccine before holiday season begins


MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases are going down, but this welcomed trend comes right on the edge of the holiday season.

COVID-19 hospitalizations hit their second highest peak at the end of August at nearly 2,855 inpatients. Those numbers are rapidly declining. The state Department of Public Health is reporting 1,145 inpatients statewide as of October 5.

On the cusp of the most wonderful time of the year, there is a lot to celebrate. Dr. Karen Landers, Alabama Department of Public Health Spokesperson, reminds people it’s not time to let our guards down.

She says if people aren’t vigilant… “Our holidays could put us back in the position we were before,” Landers said.

She’s referring to spikes in cases and hospitalizations ADPH has recorded after holidays. In January, COVID-19 hit its peak in the state, weeks after winter celebrations.

“None of us wants to have that as the post-holiday situation,” she stated.

She says preventing a spike begins before the holidays start.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50.4 percent of Alabamians 12 and older are fully vaccinated. She says that number needs to be higher.

“This is a tale of caution right now. Do not let our guard down and take advantage of the opportunity that we didn’t have last year at this time, and that is to vaccinate,” Landers explained.

And when the holiday actually takes place… “One of the first things that a lot of people don’t think about, because they really want to celebrate, is if your sick stay at home. If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 stay at home,” she said.

She recommends gatherings be held outdoors, but if they are indoors, she urges people to continue to practice social distancing.

COVID-19 vaccines are available at many locations across the Tennessee Valley. ADPH offers a comprehensive list on their dashboard.

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