BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama’s low vaccination rates have lawmakers on edge.
Senator Jim McClendon wants to know why the state ranks last in the nation and believes the Department of Public Health is to blame. He went on FM Talk 106.5 on Wednesday stating the health department needs to be completely reorganized from the ground up.
“The purpose of this is to not throw rocks at anybody, but I think it’s time to find out what’s going on and what the short comings are,” McClendon said.
He says he isn’t blaming Dr. Scott Harris or any other health official, but believes the way the system is set up is dooming the state.
“I’m not here to criticize Dr. Scott Harris. I’m here to criticize the system,” McClendon said.
McClendon, other lawmakers and health experts continue to push vaccine efforts state wide.
“If we want our state to open up again, we all must get vaccinated,” Senator Bobby Singleton said.
But Alabamians aren’t getting shots, which has leaders worried.
“This is worrisome now,” McClendon said.
McClendon says the state should have branched out to see what other states were doing. He thinks then the states vaccination rates wouldn’t be as low.
“I feel like other states have done something different from us because they certainly have different results,” McClendon said.
McClendon proposed a bill in March that would change how the State Health Officer is selected, essentially making the department a government agency. He says the change has been needed for some time.
“Let’s reorganize the State Department of Public Health,” McClendon said.
Senator Singleton says blame shouldn’t solely lie on the Department of Public Health, but all leaders in the state.
“Yes, the Health Department has been given that task to be able to do that, but they can’t do it alone,” Singleton said.
Leaders and health experts encourage all Alabamians to get their shot. For more information on where, click here.