Morgan County preparing to vaccinate seniors over 75

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. — It was confirmed at the Decatur-Morgan County COVID-19 briefing that 11,781 have tested positive for COVID-19, with 1,549 of those from the last 14 days.

Even so, the 14 day percent positive rate in the county is down. Judy Smith with the Alabama Department of Public Health says it dropped to around 30% but adds that people are still dying from the virus.

“25 of the deaths since December the 31st have occurred here in Morgan County,” said Smith.

Even with vaccines soon being introduced to the public, ADPH doesn’t expect much to change in day-to-day lives until about 70% of people are vaccinated.

Morgan County health officials are busy trying to prepare for the release of COVID-19 vaccines for the county’s senior citizens.

Smith said Monday that they were preparing to begin administering the vaccine on Jan. 18, but with about 8,900 people over the age of 75 in the county, it would take time to take care of everyone.

“I promise you we cannot vaccinate all of you the first day, and I do promise you that we are going to do everything we can to get you the vaccine,” Smith said.

People statewide have to call 855-566-5333 to schedule an appointment through their local health department. Smith said people will automatically be scheduled for an appointment for their followup dose of the vaccine, which is necessary for it to be fully effective.

In Morgan County, people can also register online for a vaccination appointment at Decatur Morgan Hospital. Health officials ask that people choose one or the other to set up a vaccination appointment, and not try both.

Smith said they were preparing at the health department by making information and registration packets available for people at various places in the county. They were initially available at City Hall, but we have learned those packets will now be moved to the Decatur Police Department. Smith says the packets are also available at the Morgan County Courthouse and Health Department.

Smith said it’s important for people to remember that they will still need to take precautions after getting their first vaccine dose.

“It’s only going to build up partial immunity,” Smith said. “It takes 7 to 14 days to do that. And then we still have to wait on that second dose.”

And it’s important that everyone continues to take health precautions, Smith added. Health officials in the county are waiting to see whether the holidays lead to an uptick in positive cases and hospitalizations, and Smith said 25 percent of the deaths in the county since the pandemic began have taken place this year.

“In 11 days of this month, we’ve already lost 25 of our citizens,” Smith said. “That speaks to how tragic this situation is and how imperative it is that we continue to do the things we need to do.”

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