Dr. Scott Harris explains how the COVID vaccine will be distributed in Alabama

The state expects to have more than 40,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine sometime in December. Huntsville Hospital will be among those distributing the vaccine to high-risk individuals.

Posted: Dec 4, 2020 10:31 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2020 10:38 PM

Huntsville Hospital announced Friday that it will be among the first hospitals in the state to receive the coronavirus vaccine. The hospital expects to receive nearly 7,000 doses during the first phase of distribution.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said that the first round will be designated for those who are at the highest risk -- mostly health care workers and nursing home patients. But even then, he said, there won't be nearly enough.

“We really hope to have vaccine product available here within the next couple of weeks, hopefully by mid-December, and we can start immunizing people as quickly as possible,” Harris said on a Facebook Live Friday.

Harris said the state is expecting just over 40,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to arrive for distribution in the coming weeks, with Moderna’s to follow shortly after.

The initial distribution plan will give the Pfizer vaccine to the select hospitals that have the ability to hold it in the sub-zero temperatures needed and distribute nearly 1,000 vials in a timely fashion.

Huntsville Hospital is among them, expecting to receive 6,825 doses during that first round, according to a release.

In Alabama, high-risk health care workers and nursing home patients with medical conditions are first on the list for immunization, according to Harris. Still, he admitted it may take weeks to fully cover that group.

“There’s simply not enough vaccine right now for everyone and there’s not enough vaccine even for everyone who’s highly deserving of it.”

While it might be a while before the vaccine is widely available to the public, some already say they plan on getting it. Dylan McKelvey said everyone is entitled to their opinion on the vaccine, but he plans to get it to keep his loved ones safe.

“You don’t really need to understand it, it’s just up to them,” McKelvey said of people’s opinions, “but I will just to protect myself everybody around me.”

According to the four-phase vaccine plan Dr. Harris presented Friday, there is expected to be a “sufficient supply” by phase four -- when all unvaccinated groups will be targeted. Currently, there is no timeline indicating when that might be.

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