Alabama using honor system to verify frontline workers getting the coronavirus vaccine

The state said showing proof of eligibility would slow down the vaccine administration process.

Posted: Feb 1, 2021 5:29 PM
Updated: Feb 1, 2021 5:38 PM

Starting Feb. 8, additional frontline workers and people 65 and older will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Some of the eligible frontline workers include teachers, grocery store workers and mailmen. 

WAAY 31 learned how the state plans to verify if you are a frontline worker.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) said they're expecting people to follow an honor code and only sign up if they fit into the eligible categories. Some health care providers, like Happi Health, will make you either send a picture of your work badge or bring in proof of your occupation. 

“We’re not in the business of completely policing that," said Happi Health's operations manager, Ann Kepner. "We do want to use the honor system, but if somebody does not bring a badge along and they haven’t uploaded a photo, then we will turn them away.”

Kepner said they've received an overwhelming amount of interest in people getting the vaccine, and they don't have enough supply. Happi Health isn't alone. 

Dr. Landers said the state does not have enough vaccines for the amount of people eligible.

“I am very concerned that, you know, obviously we do want to open up to additional categories, but that the vaccine supply is not going to be enough because when adding this on, we’re really adding almost another million people," said Dr. Landers.

She said the state wouldn't be able to give the vaccine as quickly if they required people to show proof of their eligibility besides their age. 

“We have to be aware that should we need to go through a laborious documentation process, that, that would slow down our ability to provide the vaccine in any given date," said Dr. Landers. 

Happi Health will require you to either upload on the interest form your proof of eligibility, or bring it in when you have a scheduled appointment. 

“Please don’t jump the line. It will be everybody’s turn eventually. Just help us stay compliant and follow the guidelines. We don’t want to have to police you," said Kepner. 

Dr. Landers said she hopes people will focus on their individual risk factors and decide whether they should wait a little longer to get the vaccine, even if they're eligible for it. 

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