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Everything you need to know about the COVID vaccine in Alabama

Who gets the vaccine now?

Alabama is currently vaccinating first-line health workers and residents of nursing homes. These are the people defined by 1a.

After January 18, people aged 75 and over can get the vaccine. Appointments can be scheduled by calling ADPH at 1-855-566-5333. More information about vaccination sites can be found here.

Some counties have made sufficient progress in providing the vaccine to health professionals and began offering the vaccine to other second-tier groups called 1

b in early January. This includes first responders, teachers and people over 75 years of age.

Who is the next?

Alabama has already begun offering the vaccine in some of the second stages and will fully open this layer in the coming weeks. Group 1b includes persons over 75 years of age; key frontline workers; persons working or living in group conditions, such as shelters for the homeless, group homes, prisons or prisons; first responders, including firefighters and law enforcement.

In the coming months, the state will start offering vaccines to people in the 1st century. This third wave covers many groups, including Americans over the age of 65, people with certain pre-existing medical conditions, and additional key workers.

High-risk conditions include cancer; chronic kidney disease; COPD; heart disease; immunocompromised condition; solid organ transplantation; obesity; sickle cell disease; smoking; type 2 diabetes; and pregnancy. The main workers in this third wave include employees in the following areas: transport; waste and waste water; food service; construction; banks; Information Technology; energy; legally; media; public safety; and public health.

Learn more about the order of priority groups here.

When will everyone else get it?

Public health officials expect the vaccine to be available to the general public by this summer.

What about the children?

Vaccines have not yet been approved for use in children, but trials are ongoing.

How will I know when it’s my turn?

Alabama health officials will make broad announcements when it’s time for new groups of people to get the vaccine across the state, but smaller amounts of the vaccine are provided through county health services as stocks allow.

For example, Etowah County began offering the vaccine to residents over the age of 75 and some teachers and school staff in the first week of January, and many county hospitals or health services now offer the vaccine to police, first responders and other non-emergency staff. were explicitly included in Phase 1a of the vaccine plan.

Where do you get the vaccine from?

In Alabama, vaccines are now available in 16 large hospitals, 27 smaller medical centers and three independent pharmacies located in the state. Each Alabama County health department also received a small shipment of vaccines.

More providers are registering to be able to distribute the vaccine, including private doctor’s offices and pharmacy chains such as CVS and Walgreens. In the coming weeks and months, you will most likely be able to make an appointment and get the vaccine at many pharmacy chains, emergency clinics or your primary care doctor’s office.

How can I check Alabama’s progress?

The Alabama Public Health Department tracks the spread of the vaccine on this site:

As of January 2, Alabama had received 226,250 doses of COVID vaccine and reported receiving nearly 160,000.

Will local pharmacies issue vaccines?

Alabama is one of several states that relies on a federal program to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. CVS and other large pharmacies send teams to these facilities with vaccines for residents and staff so residents do not have to travel. It started in Alabama on December 28.

In the coming weeks and months, you will most likely be able to make an appointment and get the vaccine at many pharmacy chains, emergency clinics or your primary care doctor’s office.

Which vaccines do we receive?

So far, Alabama has received two different vaccines, one developed by Pfizer and one developed by Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage and is mostly used in large hospitals. Moderna does not and that the vaccine is given in smaller facilities.

Should I take two doses?

Yes. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be effective, the Pfizer dose 21 days after the first shot, the Moderna 28 days after the first shot.

There are very limited data on the effectiveness of vaccines if a person does not receive the second dose.

Other vaccines under development require only one dose, but they have not yet been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

How long does it take to work?

The CDC says it takes about a “week or two” after the second dose to get the most out of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Because vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the virus, it takes some time for your body to build up its immunity.

When will teachers receive the vaccine?

In Alabama, teachers are included in phase 1b of the state vaccination plan. Alabama is currently in Phase 1a. Some sites already offer the vaccine to limited populations included in phase 1b, as stocks allow.

No one knows when the country as a whole will move to phase 1b, but a number of sources told AL.com that they expect this to happen in January.

Is it safe?

Approved COVID vaccines have been shown to be safe in clinical safety trials involving tens of thousands of participants. There are some potential side effects, including rare allergic reactions.

The CDC recommends monitoring people who receive the vaccine for 15-30 minutes to ensure there is no allergic reaction, and is implementing a new V-safe long-term monitoring program for people receiving the vaccine to monitor for side effects. effects.

Does it work?

Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed more than 95 percent efficacy after two doses. Very few patients who received the vaccine in the trials were still infected with COVID.

Do I still have to wear a mask after receiving the vaccine?

Yes. We do not yet know whether the spread of COVID-19 is possible after vaccination or how long the immunity will last.

How did Alabama decide who came first?

The state follows the CDC’s plan, which balances the protection of the most vulnerable Americans with keeping society in action. Alabama gives discretion to hospitals and local staff to move between the recommended phases of the CDC, if necessary.

Will my employer require me to get a vaccine?

It depends. The state does not require employees to be vaccinated, nor do hospitals in Alabama. Private employers have the right to require employees to receive a vaccine.

Will I have to bring a vaccination passport to Alabama?

No. State health officials say there are no plans to require vaccination passports.

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