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Gov. Kay Ivey’s 'Safer Apart' COVID-19 plan is set to expire at end of May

Governor Kay Ivey’s “safer apart” plan, currently suggests wearing masks and social distancing, is now set to expire at the end of the month. The asssociated "State of Emergency" will end in July.

The plan suggests COVID-19 precautions, but doesn’t mandate them. While this goes on, Alabamians still lags behind most of the nation when it comes to vaccinations. Barely 30 percent of state residents have received at least one shot. Alabama health care providers are also concerned about a drop in demand for vaccination. UAB’s Dr. Sarah Nafziger said her hospital now offers shots without appointments needed.

“We trying to remove all barriers and make sure we’ve done," Nafziger said. "And, when we reach the point where we see we don’t have enough patients to vaccinate, we’ll start scaling back our operations. We’re not there yet. But, I’m concerned we could be there soon.”

UAB is offering inoculations at multiple locations. One concern is lowering demand for COVID-19 shots, which could prompt the closing of some UAB vaccination sites. Nafziger said her hospital is trying to make vaccinations as easy as possible by offering shots without an appointment.

“Now, the big question for us at UAB and our administrative team is how long shall we keep our vaccine sites open," Nafziger said. "Because, if we get to the point where we don’t have patients to vaccinate, then certainly we’ll think about scaling back our operations. We’re monitoring it very closely.”

An Associated Press study shows states that vote Republican in presidential elections statistically fall short in COVID-19 vaccinations. Mississippi has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the U.S., with about 30 percent of its population receiving at least shot. An Associated Press analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows Alabama, Louisiana, Idaho and Wyoming are the next four. Those states vote reliably Republican in presidential races. So Republican leaders are stepping up efforts to persuade their supporters to get the shot, at times combating misinformation. The five states with the highest vaccination rates backed Democrat Joe Biden in Novemb

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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