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Officials discuss Alabama's plans for rural distribution of coronavirus vaccine

The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived at hospitals around the nation on Monday.

Posted: Dec 14, 2020 6:49 PM
Updated: Dec 14, 2020 8:51 PM

As hospitals around the nation begin to receive doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, the focus in Alabama is on phase one -- where 15 sites will receive 41,000 vials during the period. 

While it's currently unclear how long the state will remain in the first phase of distribution, there are already concerns about how the vaccine will be rolled out in Alabama's rural communities. 

Pfizer's vaccine arrived at hospitals around the country on Monday.

During a Monday news conference, Dr. William Curry of the University of Alabama at Birmingham said 10 counties have a positive testing rate of over 45%. Seven of them are completely rural.

"If you also look closely," Curry said, "they’re all from the northern part of the state.”

Though we are still in the initial stages of phase one, Dr. Karen Landers of the Alabama Department of Public Health said there will be a reliance on a foundation of community partners to help distribute the vaccine when the time comes. 

"We will certainly be working with partners within those communities, such as rural health clinics, urgent cares, doctors' offices, pharmacies, to be able to administer the COVID vaccine," Landers explained, adding that this will only be possible once more doses are available and sites are able to store them. 

She said, in some cases, portable freezers may be provided or the shipping container may be used for storage in these rural areas. 

The mass vaccination plan the state is working with is essentially an updated version of what was used during the swine flu outbreak on a much larger scale, according to Landers. 

In Jackson County, EMA Director Paul Smith described the process as roughly the same as what you'd see with a flu vaccine. 

Smith said ADPH has complete oversite on distribution, adding that his group can only step in if there is a need for alternative distribution. 

“Of course, we exercised that earlier this fall, back in October, with our drive-thru flu clinic. So, that was basically a dress rehearsal for the COVID vaccine. We’ll do that the same way," he explained. 

Curry said on Monday that it is their hope that there will be very little difference between the distribution seen in rural and urban locations, adding that UAB is working to develop a reliable supply chain within the state.

Landers noted additional hospitals will be receiving doses in the coming weeks but did not specify which ones. She said that rural areas will be further addressed as shipments continue to arrive.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 439442

Reported Deaths: 6657
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson644371007
Mobile31435569
Madison28158217
Tuscaloosa21492275
Montgomery19873332
Shelby19248132
Baldwin17128189
Lee13137107
Morgan12594142
Etowah12070181
Calhoun11496206
Marshall10420123
Houston8988164
Limestone832081
Cullman8257124
Elmore8183110
DeKalb7871107
Lauderdale7847107
St. Clair7808130
Talladega6445112
Walker6028183
Jackson599145
Colbert548694
Blount546286
Autauga535862
Coffee460764
Dale409685
Franklin374150
Russell354215
Chilton344373
Covington338580
Escambia334544
Tallapoosa3143109
Dallas312996
Chambers303470
Clarke298036
Pike262431
Lawrence253355
Marion253161
Winston233342
Bibb222348
Geneva210247
Marengo208231
Pickens199531
Hale184944
Barbour180538
Fayette177829
Butler173160
Cherokee165131
Henry159525
Monroe152021
Randolph145536
Washington141727
Clay129746
Crenshaw123745
Macon121937
Cleburne121525
Lamar119922
Lowndes114836
Wilcox107922
Bullock103328
Perry99918
Conecuh97822
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63418
Choctaw51924
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 705876

Reported Deaths: 8819
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby783871172
Davidson72746692
Knox39988439
Hamilton35697337
Rutherford34042295
Unassigned23786134
Williamson22041144
Sumner18744232
Out of TN1629183
Montgomery15092149
Wilson14797164
Sullivan12932220
Blount12321133
Washington12148204
Maury11264131
Bradley1116398
Sevier10787121
Putnam10170152
Madison9309183
Robertson788687
Hamblen7213117
Anderson6983114
Greene6749115
Tipton636869
Coffee576982
Gibson5739116
Dickson557082
Cumberland554476
Bedford543091
Roane532481
Lawrence522169
McMinn520374
Carter5191116
Warren510455
Loudon506351
Jefferson493378
Dyer485286
Monroe470363
Hawkins458672
Franklin422865
Fayette412651
Obion405882
Rhea390657
Lincoln387246
Marshall356538
Cocke355760
Cheatham348531
Weakley345148
Henderson337059
Campbell336440
Giles332476
Carroll317160
White316946
Hardeman314754
Hardin305450
Lauderdale298834
Macon293951
Wayne270124
Henry267858
Overton259546
McNairy247142
DeKalb247042
Haywood245047
Marion235332
Smith234830
Trousdale230715
Scott229732
Hickman228935
Claiborne227432
Fentress216734
Grainger216039
Johnson205034
Morgan194616
Crockett183138
Bledsoe178011
Chester178039
Unicoi170045
Cannon161420
Lake158421
Decatur148828
Polk148517
Union144725
Grundy143122
Sequatchie141119
Humphreys137217
Benton133835
Lewis130921
Meigs118216
Stewart111220
Jackson105923
Clay96526
Perry95925
Houston94824
Moore8349
Pickett69020
Van Buren6738
Hancock4187

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