Alabama health officer disputes reports that state has lowest vaccination rate in nation

Alabama News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama health officials delivered an update on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts in a press conference Friday morning.

Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris spoke to media at 10 a.m. from the RSA Tower in Montgomery.

In the press conference Harris said hundreds of healthcare providers who want to provide the vaccine have been unable to due to low supply. He said ADPH is surveying those with the vaccine to ensure all doses are being administered.

Acknowledging the discrepancy between ADPH and CDC COVID-19 vaccination data, Harris said the difference is about 40,000 to 50,000 doses.

“There are all types of problems that will have to be sorted out,” he said.

Dr. Harris said he is not familiar with the context used in news reports, disputing the claim Alabama has the lowest vaccination rate. He said as of Friday morning, Alabama’s vaccination rate is 1.4%, which he says is higher than that of multiple states.

Harris said the state’s COVID-19 dashboard will be refreshed to clarify the amount of vaccine doses Alabama providers have on hand, as the allocation number includes vaccines that have not yet arrived to the state.

“The total state allocation is the amount of vaccine that Alabama is ultimately allowed to have at some point, and that includes second doses,” he explained.

Harris hopes that at some point ADPH will have enough vaccine inventory to hold a large clinic.

“We don’t know what we’re getting…until the day before we get it…it’s very challenging for people,” Harris said while detailing challenges Alabama providers face in quickly administering the vaccine.

The update came one day after Governor Kay Ivey extended the state’s Safer at Home order, which mandates facial coverings, through March 5.

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