DOTHAN, Ala.(WDHN) — Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution is just a week away, but for many high-risk individuals, age is the only thing preventing them from walking through those doors to get their vaccine.
“I’m supposed to be Phase 1-B, I understand,” elementary school teacher Brenda Parker said. “I am 69 years old. I am a school teacher. I work part-time 24 hours a week, and I’m hoping that we’ll get this shot pretty soon.”
Parker is one of many that falls a few years short of the 75 and older age requirement for the Phase 1-B COVID vaccine distribution, but because she is a teacher, she qualifies to get vaccinated after the first rounds of Phase 1-B vaccines go to people 75 years or older and first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters.
“I’ve had friends that are 73, 72, 74, and they are telling me that they are going to try calling the health department and see when they can get it because they are anxious to get it,” Parker said. “They are worried that they are going to get COVID before they get the vaccine.”
Alabama has administered over 80,000 vaccines so far to health care employees and nursing home patients that could be under 75 years old. According to the administrator for the Southeastern Public Health District, everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to eventually get one.
“The 75-and-up crowd is almost 50 percent of our deaths in our hospitalizations currently, so targeting that group and stabilizing that workforce will go a long way, we think, to making sure that we have enough medical personal to take care of all of us,” said Corey Kirkland, administrator for the Southeastern Public Health District.
Younger individuals with underlying health conditions will be getting into the second part of Phase 1-B and 1-C, but the focus is on the older crowd now because of the limited number of vaccines available to the state.
“The biggest hope is that we’ll see most of this sickness to go away,” Parker said.
Now the health department is urging individuals to call 855-566-5333 if you’d like to schedule your appointment for your Phase 1-B vaccine. If you have questions as to which phase you fall under for your vaccine, call 800-270-7268.