COVID-19 vaccine could be available for eligible Alabamians by December

Local News

A medical worker puts on a second pair of gloves as the Morgan County Health Department begins its first day of COVID-19 testing in a lot outside the department, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Decatur, Ala. (Dan Busey/The Decatur Daily via AP)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — A COVID-19 vaccine could be available for healthcare workers and the “chronically ill” by the middle of December, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

This comes after U.S. Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, told Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris the progress seen in the vaccines will make it possible for Alabama to store a beginning supply of vaccine products for use once they are authorized.

The federal government is already storing large amounts of vaccines from various producers while clinical trials continue. The government will divide the stockpiles among states and other jurisdictions while taking measures to protect the supply.

According to the ADPH, these stockpiles are being protected with armed guards.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to take about two weeks to review vaccine products,” an ADPH release states. “As soon as the FDA makes its review, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will study the data and make recommendations. After the FDA confirms a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and when an Emergency Use Authorization is received, vaccine kits will be shipped to several locations statewide and pre-positioned to provide immunizations in Alabama.”

Once the ADPH gets the all-clear, it will distribute the vaccine based on its three-phase plan. In this plan, the vaccine will be given to healthcare personnel, other essential workers, people with underlying medical conditions, and those 65 years of age and older.

The first vaccine treatment will be free for all.

Thanks to a new software program called “Tiberius,” health officials will be able to track COVID-19 vaccine doses from production to inoculation.

“Most vaccine candidates require patients to receive two doses at a certain time interval apart,” the ADPH said. “The stated goal of Operation Warp Speed is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures).”

You can read up on the plan by visiting https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/vaccine.html

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