HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As medical professionals across the globe race to create a COVID-19 vaccine Alabama is preparing to roll out immunization across the state once it’s ready.
Dr. Karen Landers, spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Public Health says the state still does not know which vaccine product or products will be approved.
While ADPH waits, the agency is drafting a mass vaccination operational plan that will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
ADPH is working with community vaccinators to make sure people have access to the vaccine once it is available. She says those partners include doctors offices, hospitals, and pharmacies.
Landers says the state has never conducted mass vaccination to the level they are expecting to see when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. She says the state does have some experience with mass vaccination using drive-through influenza clinics. She says flu clinics are currently being used as a trial run for COVID-19 immunization.
“Our staff again is exercising with influenza vaccine by being able to, again, just refine the process. Go through the processes we have before and see if there are other measures that we need to take in order to carry out a satisfactory mass vaccination campaign,” Landers said.
Landers says after the vaccine is approved it will first be available for people who are most at risk for the virus. She says that will be based on their occupation. She said people like first responders and medical personnel will be some of the first to get the vaccine.
Landers says there will be a delay before it is to released it to the general public. She did not know how long that could be, but quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci when she said sometime in mid 2021.