Alabama's alarming COVID-19 case numbers may focus attention on a vaccine

Nov 20, 2020

Word that Alabama’s COVID-19 outbreak is out of control is likely to focus attention on rolling out a vaccine. The State’s Hospital Association told reporters that no relief from spread of the virus is expected until after the holidays. Alabama is preparing for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Karen Landers is with the Alabama Department of Public Health. She said healthcare and nursing home workers, first responders, and those with underlying conditions will get the approved vaccine first.

“Initially the vaccine will be in limited supply, so this will give us an opportunity to continue to provide additional messaging to the general public so that they can feel confident when this vaccine is broadly available,” she said.

One vaccine, from Pfizer, requires deep refrigeration equipment to keep the dosages fresh. A second vaccine, from Moderna, reportedly doesn’t require that level of deep freeze storage to be effective.

Landers said there’s a system the state will use to obtain doses of the vaccine and to distribute them to where they’re needed.

“Our electronic system will allow us to have vaccinators to order vaccine, ensure they can store vaccine appropriately, ensure they can administer the vaccine and document the doses that are given, and also have recall to persons,” Landers said.

A report from Johns Hopkins says that 1 out of every 342 Alabamians tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week. That’s a 50 percent jump over the last 14 days.

Health officials are also concerned about the Thanksgiving holiday. They believe gatherings will spread the virus even more and result in a wave of illness that will not let up for weeks.