State Health Officer explains coronavirus vaccine process

He said the first vaccines could make it to Alabama by the end of the year.

Posted: Oct 15, 2020 6:07 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2020 7:28 PM

The State Health Officer gave WAAY 31 an update on the coronavirus vaccine process, and how long it could be until we have one to use in Alabama.

Scott Harris, State Health Officer, said Thursday the state is submitting its COVID-19 vaccination plan to the federal government on Friday and they expect a response in two weeks.

"Over the past 3 to 4 weeks, we've really been talking every single day with the CDC and the federal partners because we're asked to submit a plan to them tomorrow," he said.

Harris said his team has spent the last month preparing a plan on how it will distribute COVID-19 vaccines across the state, and the first doses could be here before 2021.

"The things that we know or we think we know are that all of the federal folks we've spoken to all this time have suggested that we will probably have some type of vaccine product out by the end of the year," he said.

Harris explained they have to decide who will be able to get the vaccine when the first batches arrive and that's a part of the plan they submitted to the federal government.

"It will not be in large amounts at that time. On one hand, we are worried about people being hesitant the vaccine and what the uptake is going to be. We also think we're going to have a scarce resource. I think that the amount we have will not be enough for the people that want it," he said.

No vaccines have been approved yet, but Harris explained there could be 5 to 7 different vaccines that hit the market at once.

"Every product isn't going to be appropriate for every person, so for example, some vaccines are being tried in phase three studies with people who have chronic comorbidities, chronic medical conditions. Some of them are being tried in certain age groups, some of them are being tried in various demographic groups, and so it may well be not everyone is going to be the right one for everybody," he said.

He explained they want everyone in the state to know the work that goes into the plan and want to continue to talk about vaccines to make people comfortable in getting it when it arrives.

"This is a really, really complicated plan to put together. We don't know when the doses are coming and we don't know how much product we are going to get," he said.

Harris said they expect to hear back from the feds on their plan by Oct. 27. Once it's been approved and finalized, they'll release it to the public so everyone in the state is prepared for when the vaccine is released.

He explained why people can trust that the coronavirus vaccine trials happening right now are working normally despite news that some of them are having to change their methods.

Harris said hearing COVID-19 vaccine trials are being paused for safety concerns is a good thing. He explained that's something that happens with many trials and should be a sign to everyone that thorough studies are being performed.

Harris explained the advisory committee of immunization practices has a longstanding process for vaccines. He said they're responsible for evaluating clinical trials and medical evidence. Harris explained if the ACIP accepts a vaccine, it's something he trusts and accepts. He explained why the group isn't politically motivated.

"It's not a political group, it's not appointed by the government, it's not connected to this administration or any other administration. And that's the approval that has to occur, before it's going to be released or is going to be made available," he said.

Harris said immunity is important and it's the next step to stopping the virus. That immunity will be achieved with a successful vaccine.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 232506

Reported Deaths: 3457
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30318491
Mobile19260356
Tuscaloosa12446148
Madison12204146
Montgomery12000232
Shelby971276
Baldwin819984
Lee750464
Morgan610447
Calhoun5964113
Etowah585764
Marshall579453
Houston503338
DeKalb460835
Cullman409636
Limestone400844
St. Clair396055
Elmore391061
Lauderdale378353
Walker348096
Talladega334042
Colbert294341
Jackson290524
Blount275436
Autauga261739
Franklin243633
Coffee230315
Dale225454
Dallas219631
Russell21753
Chilton216137
Covington212333
Escambia194031
Tallapoosa168590
Chambers167548
Clarke154919
Pike154714
Marion133935
Winston122523
Lawrence121436
Geneva11678
Marengo116424
Barbour116010
Pickens114118
Bibb113617
Butler113341
Randolph99521
Cherokee98524
Hale91531
Washington89818
Clay88823
Henry8386
Fayette83116
Lowndes78529
Monroe76811
Cleburne74214
Crenshaw70030
Macon69420
Bullock68919
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Wilcox62318
Lamar6227
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene39917
Coosa3064
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 340476

Reported Deaths: 4266
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby45436634
Davidson40436402
Knox17413137
Rutherford16668150
Hamilton15723135
Williamson1050373
Sumner9016134
Wilson692474
Out of TN668748
Montgomery614481
Sullivan594689
Putnam572279
Washington550298
Maury541957
Blount508055
Madison5064104
Bradley476833
Sevier458530
Unassigned416314
Robertson352550
Tipton345136
Hamblen328257
Dyer307149
Gibson297761
Greene281868
Anderson271525
Dickson264427
Coffee260841
Carter250951
Bedford250328
Obion250347
Lawrence249632
Cumberland240035
McMinn232255
Warren226517
Hardeman220337
Roane217723
Loudon216517
Jefferson212631
Fayette212137
Weakley205934
Lauderdale198721
Monroe197042
Franklin189631
Trousdale189012
Wayne179310
Hawkins178234
Henderson178030
Macon175727
Hardin170925
White166417
Marshall163117
Carroll162832
Haywood159129
Rhea155530
Cocke153928
Overton150034
Campbell146521
Cheatham146316
Lincoln144413
Henry141517
McNairy137232
Smith136919
Johnson136721
Giles134242
Fentress116219
Lake11445
Bledsoe11405
Crockett110925
Hickman109417
DeKalb108220
Marion103117
Chester97919
Scott9407
Grainger91314
Decatur91012
Unicoi77123
Claiborne7509
Benton74914
Grundy73414
Lewis70411
Cannon6962
Union6865
Jackson6579
Morgan6546
Humphreys6407
Polk62914
Houston56819
Stewart54614
Clay52418
Sequatchie4895
Meigs45912
Perry45520
Moore3652
Pickett36512
Van Buren3382
Hancock1453

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