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Alabamians wait their turn for a coronavirus vaccine


Some Alabamians may soon be rolling up their sleeves for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

An advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration is recommending emergency approval for the inoculations. The agency later gave its full endorsement.

Fifteen Alabama hospitals are equipped with the supercold refrigeration units needed to store the Pfizer vaccine.

Dr. Richard Friend is Dean of the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences. He said getting the vaccine doesn’t mean just taking one shot.

“The first two that are going to come on the market in the U.S., is the Pfizer vaccine which is a two dose injection, at least twenty one days apart, but no more than twenty eight days apart," Friend said, "and the second is the Moderna vaccine, which is also a two dose regime.”

The state also has only 41,000 doses. That’s enough to give the two shots needed for 20,000 people. Friend said it’s important that patients get that second shot.

“I think everything’s being done to help people with reminders," he said. "I know the CDC will not ship the second dose until the first dose is actually taken…so as not to have any wastage.”

One concern is that if people avoid getting the second shot, the virus could mutate and become resistant. Healthcare providers also warn of possible side effects to the vaccine for patients who do take the shots. The list includes muscle aches, fatigue, and pain where the shot was given.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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