Georgia teachers cross state lines to get vaccine shots in Alabama

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MONTGOMERY, Ala (WIAT) — Are teachers from neighboring states taking the spots of Alabama educators when it comes to getting a COVID-19 vaccine? 

In Alabama, educators are a part of the list of residents approved to get a COVID-19 vaccine.  However, that’s not the case in neighboring Georgia.   

A recent report from Georgia Public Broadcasting focused on teachers from the peach state registering for and receiving their shots at the Walmart in Auburn. 

“It’s a federal resource, it’s a free vaccine that the feds have given to all states to end the pandemic. So, we are not at this time having any requirements for residency,” Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.

Dr. Harris stresses that even though residents from other states can come to Alabama, so far, it’s not a huge influx. 

“I can tell you that as of this morning, about 1.7% of our vaccine has gone to people who are out of state. So very small numbers and I can tell you most that were people who were residents in Baldwin county at the beach,” Dr. Harris said.

He believes creating strict residency requirements would be unfair to those people living close to state borders. 

“Out of state people work here every day, they travel here, they get their medical care here. People, particularly on the border, may travel here to see their own doctor. And certainly, we don’t want to have a rule in place that prevents that person from getting vaccinated,” Dr. Harris said.

Dr. Harris maintains the biggest issue facing vaccination efforts in Alabama is supply versus demand. Right now, the state receives between 60,000 and 70,000 doses per week from the federal government.

He expects that number to increase shortly.  Plus, the federal government could give approval to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine any day now. If that happens, Alabama’s vaccine supply will increase even more. 

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