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Already following the nation, Alabama sees the pace of COVID vaccines slowly



As of Friday, Alabama was at the bottom of the national ranking for vaccination levels and the numbers are going in the wrong direction.

Only 32 percent of Alabama’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That put Alabama ahead of just one state neighboring Mississippi.

But when it comes to full vaccinations that require a second shot for Moderna and Pfizer, only 21

percent of Alabama are fully vaccinated. This is the lowest score in the nation.

Vaccination rates have slowed significantly in Alabama since the beginning of this year.

Currently, the state administers about 27,000 doses of vaccines every weekday – their number slows dramatically over the weekend. This reduced by nearly 13,000 daily doses – or 32 percent – from the high on April 14, about two and a half weeks ago.

Vaccine numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health are updated frequently, and vaccine numbers for each county are often increased weeks later. This means that the latest numbers may not show the full picture. This can be controlled to some extent by reviewing dates that have had more time to complete. Looking at the figures from April 26, the trend is still clear – vaccinations are slowing down.

Between April 14 and April 26, the moving average length of the week for vaccine doses in Alabama dropped by nearly 11,000 doses per day – a drop of 27 percent.

Vaccines have been delayed in every Alabama county until April 16, including huge cuts in some rural areas of southern Alabama.

[Can’t see the map? Click here.]

In Washington County, a small county north of Mobile, daily doses fell by 82% between the peak of February 25 and April 26. Many of its neighbors have also seen big reductions, including Clark, Monroe and Koneku counties.

But the change in the average doses administered does not tell the whole story. Some counties have barely started vaccinations and have not seen peaks worth descending from.

Russell County, in southern Alabama on the state line with Georgia, has the lowest vaccination rate in Alabama. Only 20 percent of eligible people fired at least one shot there, and only 15 percent completed a series of vaccines. The highest moving average for daily doses of vaccines was only 304, which is the lowest peak in the country when the population is controlled.

[Can’t see the map? Click here.]

No county in Alabama has vaccinated enough people to justify delaying vaccinations. No county has vaccinated 50 percent of its eligible population by Friday. Hale County – which has the highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents in Alabama – has only fully vaccinated 36 percent of eligible people.

However, there has been a recent decline in vaccination rates in each county.

Jefferson County – the most populous county in Alabama and home to Birmingham – has at least partially vaccinated 44 percent of its population. Vaccinations there have been steadily declining since their peak in early April. On April 9, Jefferson averaged nearly 6,800 doses on a weekday. On April 26, this number dropped to 4,900 – a drop of nearly 2,000 daily doses.

Look for any Alabama county in the table below to see its trend line.

[Can’t see the chart? Click here.]

As of April 26, 20 of Alabama’s 67 counties had seen the vaccine dose drop by at least 50 percent. Most have seen vaccines slow by at least 40 percent.

Only in four counties – Lowndes, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Choctaw – delays of less than 20% were observed.

You can see how the vaccine application in Alabama has evolved over time on the map below:

[Can’t see the map? Click here.]

Do you have an idea for a story with data about Alabama? Email Ramsey Archibald to rarchibald@al.comand follow him on Twitter @RamseyArchibald. Read more stories with data from Alabama here.




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