With the distribution of the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine possibly just weeks away, the Alabama Department of Public Health discussed its planning for receiving and distributing the vaccine for doses.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Monday that the CDC helped ADPH with its vaccine distribution plan last week when officials were in the state and the plan will be finalized during the first week of December.
"We're hearing that all 3 of the products so far have 90% or more effectiveness, AstraZeneca at least in 1 of its dosing regimens has about 90% effectiveness, the higher the effectiveness, the fewer the number you have to reach, but I think our goal is that we are protecting all the people who are the most vulnerable," he said.
Harris said with the steady increase of coronavirus cases during the past 6 weeks, news a vaccine could be weeks away, with multiple providers seeing high rates of effectiveness is encouraging.
Now, they're working to determine who will be able to get it with only 112,000 doses expected to come to Alabama initially.
"We have a proposal that we have circulated to the physicians on the Governor's coronavirus task force to get, they're the same group that helped us making the ethical decisions around remdesivir," he said.
Harris explained they think they've identified different groups of high-risk healthcare workers.
"Those workers who are known to be working with COVID-infected patients, those workers that are involved in procedures, like aerosol generating procedures that put them at particularly high risk, those workers who are involved in mortuary type work," he added.
Harris added the vaccine most likely won't be available to young children or pregnant women, and each vaccine could target a specific age range or population.
"It's really hard to make a blanket statement, that one size fits all statement about all of that. Ultimately, taking a vaccine is something that's going to be administered to you by a health care provider, and that health care provider is still the best source of information on that," he said.
Harris said that they're still determining where exactly vaccines will be distributed and could possibilities outside of traditional doctors' offices include pharmacies, dental offices and community health centers.