Alabama health officials release plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

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A staff member collects a sample from a patient at Waddell Family Medicine as Athens-Limestone Hospital opens a flu and fever clinic on Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Athens, Ala. Patients will only be tested for COVID-19 if indicated by their exam or ordered by the physician or provider. . (Dan Busey/The Decatur Daily via AP)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — The Alabama Department of Public Health has released its new plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine.

This plan, which details how Alabamians can get the vaccine once it is available, was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on October 16.

“We want to assure the public that there will be equitable distribution of vaccine to all Alabamians, especially to vulnerable populations in rural and urban areas,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “Many external partners will have input in vaccine allocations.”

The plan has three phases:

  • Phase 1 — “Potentially limited” vaccine doses will be prioritized to those of highest risk of exposure and health consequences. This includes first responders and healthcare workers who care for those with critical needs.
  • Phase 2 — The vaccine will be available in large numbers of doses that are expected to meet demand. The ADPH will work to educate critical populations who were not vaccinated in Phase 1.
  • Phase 3 — The ADPH expects a sufficient supply of the vaccine, allowing all unvaccinated people to get the shot. However, the department will give particular attention to populations with low vaccine coverage.

Currently, several vaccine projects are in clinical trials and will be released after experts approve their release. The vaccine will be free to all once released, according to the ADPH.

ADPH will ensure implementation of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program through tracking of provider enrollment, mapping of locations of vaccination services, monitoring performance of the Alabama Immunization Information System, Immunization Patient Registry with Integrated Technology (ImmPRINT), and tracking of vaccine ordering and distribution. More than 2,677 Alabama healthcare sites currently utilize ImmPRINT and there are more than 5 million patients of all ages and over 60 million vaccine doses recorded in ImmPRINT.

The Alabama Department of Public Health

The ADPH is working to recruit hospitals, pharmacies, and other medical partners to store the vaccine and give it to local populations. They will be required to sign the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Agreement and Profile and show that they can store the vaccine and create a report for of administered doses to ImmPRINT “within 24 hours of administration.”

Distribution sites will be across the state, especially in rural areas and places where there is a high population of vulnerable individuals.

You can read the complete plan at https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/assets/adph-covid19-vaccination-plan.pdf


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