‘We still have not reached that post holiday peak;’ Assistant State Health Officer warns the worst is yet to come

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama ranks near the bottom in the United States in the number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite this, Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers says Alabama is on track with the expected vaccination rate.

“Alabama is following the guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, ACIP, which bases the allocation on evidence,” Landers told WDHN. “At this point in time, our allocation plan is following in parallel to that guidance. I believe we are following a very appropriate rollout and I think, as you can see, over the next couple of weeks, we will see an escalation in the numbers of persons that are being vaccinated.”

Locally, Dothan has seen a big increase in cases and hospitalizations at Southeast Health. According to Landers, that spike was expected following the holiday season.

“We have really not hit the peak that we expect,” Landers said. “Again, recognizing that persons may have been off from Christmas until New Years. Certainly, there could have been activities or gatherings bringing persons together in close contact. So I’m very concerned that we will not fully see what the holiday time has yielded until probably until the middle of January.”

In addition, Landers suspects even more people who catch COVID-19 will not be able to recover at home. Instead, many will require hospitalization.

“We having over 5,000 cases on any given day in the state of Alabama and we know that if we look at statistics for COVID, that upwards of ten percent of persons who have COVID-19 will require hospitalization,” Landers said. “Of that number, there will be a certain percentage that will require intensive care therapy. So again, it’s very concerning the numbers we already have and knowing that we still have not yet reached that post holiday peak.”

To see WDHN’s full interview with Dr. Landers, watch the video above.

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