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University of Alabama healthworkers roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccinations

APR's Pat Duggins

The University of Alabama is the next spot to offer COVID-19 vaccinations starting today. The Tuscaloosa campus has 3,500 doses of the Moderna product, which was approved after the vaccine created by Pfizer. The shots will be administered on an ongoing schedule of Fridays and weekends.

Dr. Richard Friend is Dean at the college. He saic he wants to start with full doses to people who are particularly at risk from the virus.

“Capstone Village, we have the entire College of Community Health Sciences who are actively seeing patients," Friend said, "the Capstone College of Nursing that’s actively seeing patients. We have other residential groups on campus.”

Capstone Village is the University’s on-campus nursing home. Friend’s comment on full dosage was prompted by published reports on some healthcare providers are advocating half doses to stretch the currently limited supply of vaccine. Alabama’s situation may have been complicated when it was announced that the state would initially receive 20,000 fewer doses of the Pfizer product than originally announced. Friend said he disagrees with smaller doses in any event.

“The circles that I am in are strongly against that,” he said. “We want to make sure that we are only giving the vaccine in accordance with the clinical trials data.”

The University of Alabama is also requiring students living on campus to be re-tested for the coronavirus. The school wants all 10,000 tests done before classes start next week. The school is scaling back from testing all students system wide. One reason is that residential students living in close quarters to each other are more at risk. Another is that the campus positivity rate during testing last fall was considered low enough, that University decided that retesting the whole student body was unnecessary.

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