Alabama health officials move hospital workers, first responders to the top for a COVID-19 vaccine

Local News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama, the nation and the world seem to be on the verge of a coronavirus being released, maybe as early as December. But once the vaccine is here, the real work begins on who’ll be first in line to receive it.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health have devised a three-tiered approach to administering a vaccine once it’s ready. The first part of those three tiers will consist of two phases. 

Phase one will involve vaccinating hospital workers and first responders.

“We are actively involved in this planning in this process and the recruitment process for community providers because we want to do all that we can implement this plan and have safe and effective vaccine experiences,” said Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers.

Among those to be first in line for the vaccine are nursing home workers.  

“We have said that nursing home residents and nursing home staff members should receive first priority for any COVID-19 vaccine that’s found effective and safe. We’re certainly encouraged to know the state has a good plan in place,” said John Matson with the Alabama Nursing Home Association.  

Matson says on a daily basis there are about 24,000 patients in nursing homes in Alabama. For those patients, there are 31,000 nursing home workers. 

While workers will have a higher priority in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from the state, most nursing home patients will be covered for free through a partnership with drugstore giants CVS and Walgreens. 

But as will most plans, circumstances could change quickly according to Dr. Landers. 

“All plans are subject to change depending on the vaccine supply that we receive initially. But obviously, we need to work within a phases approach to vaccinate the person most at risk for contracting Covid-19 as well as most at risk for an adverse outcome,” Dr. Landers said. 

Following hospital workers and first responders, elderly Alabamians and those with high-risk medical issues would receive the next priority for a COVID-19 vaccine.


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