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: 540267

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798791529
Mobile41295809
Madison35175506
Tuscaloosa25932455
Shelby25309249
Montgomery24736593
Baldwin21422310
Lee15997172
Calhoun14577319
Morgan14431280
Etowah13927353
Marshall12280225
Houston10650282
Elmore10158206
Limestone10075151
St. Clair9955245
Cullman9773194
Lauderdale9465243
DeKalb8866188
Talladega8344176
Walker7261278
Autauga7010108
Jackson6840112
Blount6776139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5583118
Dale4878113
Russell445938
Chilton4383113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia395177
Chambers3598123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303698
Winston275873
Bibb264864
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219069
Fayette213162
Henry190043
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178241
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153657
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140753
Wilcox127430
Bullock123342
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 858355

Reported Deaths: 12327
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby967281638
Davidson89777942
Knox51190637
Hamilton44647496
Rutherford43278437
Williamson28148217
Sumner24170349
Montgomery20475228
Wilson18929236
Out of TN1826899
Sullivan16994300
Unassigned16910134
Blount15582196
Bradley15123151
Washington14713245
Maury13566172
Sevier13464176
Putnam11444175
Madison11292241
Robertson9810132
Anderson8810171
Hamblen8633173
Greene7936156
Tipton7403104
Coffee6925123
Dickson6856113
Cumberland6775133
Carter6671158
Gibson6559146
McMinn655998
Bedford6528129
Roane6327105
Jefferson6249125
Hawkins6188107
Loudon617169
Lawrence599191
Monroe588796
Warren556481
Dyer5445106
Franklin516590
Fayette512678
Cheatham458456
Obion455596
Cocke452699
Lincoln437163
Rhea436375
Marshall420758
Campbell417863
Weakley416965
Giles4014100
Henderson381176
White368970
Carroll363683
Macon363178
Hardin358568
Hardeman354364
Lauderdale321044
Henry320976
Claiborne318973
Scott316045
Marion313147
Overton302561
Wayne296934
Hickman285146
McNairy284454
DeKalb280754
Smith278939
Haywood271562
Grainger263950
Morgan251939
Trousdale250622
Fentress243447
Johnson242239
Bledsoe216311
Chester215551
Polk209725
Unicoi204449
Crockett203649
Cannon192831
Union192834
Humphreys182428
Grundy179434
Sequatchie171729
Lake170526
Benton167640
Decatur159239
Lewis158626
Meigs139325
Stewart133428
Jackson132536
Clay110330
Houston109933
Perry107328
Moore101817
Van Buren85523
Pickett75824
Hancock59512

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