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Gov. Ivey, State Health Officer say Alabama doesn’t have enough doses of coronavirus vaccine

The two spoke during a news conference Thursday morning where it was announced that the state is expanding its mandatory mask-wearing order.

Posted: Jan 21, 2021 9:28 PM
Updated: Jan 21, 2021 9:35 PM

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Thursday that she is extending Alabama’s Safer at Home and mandatory mask-wearing order through March 5.

Ivey was joined during a news conference by State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, who spoke about the state’s plan for administering the coronavirus vaccine.

A staff member at Athens Limestone Hospital receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccinations in North Alabama.

The state said it's already working with the Biden administration for future vaccines. The governor and health department said the state doesn't have enough vaccine to give out.

Harris said they've had communication with Biden’s transition team, and there could be changes to see who gets the vaccine next, but there’s nothing official yet.

In the news conference on Thursday, Harris and Ivey announced a partnership with Walmart pharmacy to start administering the vaccine. It's not clear when that will happen, and right now, the state is only getting a certain amount of vaccine based off of its population.

“If it's ultimately determined that a group of Alabamians 65 and older should be in the next eligibility group, that's about 500,000 people in Alabama, so half a million more people are going to hear the message ‘it's time to get your vaccine,’ and they are deserving and we will get it to them as quickly as possible, but yet, the amount we’re getting in the state each week will not change,” Harris said.

Right now, the state has about 500 places, both public and private, that are signed up to give the vaccine out, but only half of those places have the vaccine.

Officials said most hospitals in the state have already run out of vaccine and are asking for more, but it's unclear when they will get it.

In the news conference, Ivey said no state has enough. She also said at one point last week, the state only had 39 ICU beds available and extending this mask order shouldn't come as a surprise because of the number of cases.

The state is seeing a slight decline in cases after the holiday spike.

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