• Our 360 Staff

Alabama releases COVID-19 vaccine plan. Who will get it first, and who will want it?

Montgomery, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has released its plan detailing who will be first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when it is approved.

The news comes as Pfizer, one of the companies developing a candidate vaccine, announced that their vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preliminary analysis. In the upcoming months, the company must conduct additional analyses and submit the candidate to the FDA for approval and emergency use authorization, according to the statement.

Once a vaccine is approved, ADPH says it plans to administer the vaccine--which is likely to be a limited supply--i to Alabama's front-line workers such as healthcare workers and doctors, and those most vulnerable for serious illness in late 2020 or early 2021.

For those who do not receive the vaccine in in the first stage, ADPH plans to educate critical populations and obtain adequate supply for communities with low rates of vaccine coverage.

As vaccine distribution plans are developed throughout the country, researchers are concerned about the likelihood that healthcare providers and community members will be vaccinated. Only 34 percent of nurses surveyed by the American Nurses Foundation stated they would receive the vaccine if their employer does not require it. Only 32 percent of Black Americans surveyed plan to receive the vaccine, down from 54% from earlier this year, according to USA Today.

Both groups noted concerns about the safety and efficacy of a vaccine. Black participants in the USA Today survey also pointed to racism and mistreatment in the American healthcare system, which has received increased attention in recent months due in part to the disproportionate number of deaths among Black Americans due to COVID-19.

Alabama reported another 1,170 new cases Monday morning and 1,060 people were hospitalized due to the virus. The hospitalizations are the highest since late August. The Huntsville Hospital Health System’s COVID-19 inpatient count has almost doubled since Labor Day. Experts are continuing to urge people to get a flu vaccine soon as well as continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing when around others.

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