The Alabama Department of Public Health said Friday this week’s severe weather led to vaccine shipment delays and clinic closings. ADPH said it is reaching out to thousands of residents to reschedule their appointments – mostly for second dose vaccines.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said during a briefing Friday there are encouraging signs related to the COVID-19 fight, but vaccine supplies remain limited.
Vaccination numbers continue to grow, but Alabama still is a long way from vaccinating most of its 4.9 million residents, Harris said.
There have been 717,477 doses given, 530,000 people have gotten one or more shots,” he said, “and 186,578 have completed vaccine series.”
Harris was asked about vaccinations for people under 65 who have serious illnesses – like cancer. Those residents are currently not on the vaccine list, which includes residents in category 1B. Harris said it’s about supply, not disregard for those Alabama residents.
“The problem is we just don’t have enough to go around right now,” he said. “So, the persons that have chronic health conditions that predispose them to serious illness like cancer or in, in the 1C category of patients. So, when we move to a phase 1C is when those patients will become eligible to receive the vaccine that, I think the numbers game plays a big role in it.
“It’s not only cancer but a number of other chronic health problems that predispose people, and unfortunately, Alabama has a whole lot of those problems in abundance. chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease, and even obesity and chronic lung disease. That group of people, makes up about a third of our state.”
The state is also seeing real declines in case rates, the percentage of people testing positive and hospitalizations.
“We’re at about 9.4 percent (positive tests) this week,” he said. “The last time we were that low was the end of October, you know where we have been under 1,000 (hospitalized patients) a day, several days. Lately, not necessarily every day. But again, that, that goes back to where we were kind of in that early part of the summer.”
Harris said Alabama expects to receive about 74,000 first doses to administer next week.