State health officer expects COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2020

State health officer expects COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2020
State health officer expects COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2020 (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said he expects a COVID-19 vaccine will be available by the end the year.

“That is surely going to be in short supply when it is first released," he said.

Harris says those with chronic illnesses and front-line health care workers will most likely be prioritized because of the limited supply.

“As things roll out further, eventually, it’ll come to include everyone,” he explained .

Harris anticipates large amounts of the vaccine will be available next spring. Alabamians won’t need to pay for the vaccine.

He said they won’t need insurance either.

“We absolutely want to make sure it’s available to everyone regardless of ability to pay," Harris said.

He expects people will need to get multiple rounds of the shot. Harris said people will need to remember how many times they’ve received the vaccine.

Harris suggests people allow their information to be put on Alabama’s immunization patient registry database called ImmPRINT.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says one of their biggest challenges right now is educating those who are hesitant about the vaccine.

“And vaccine hesitancy is actually just sort of normal, good prudence," Harris explained. “And we certainly understand that people have questions about vaccines. They want to know more about what’s going into their body or into the body of their children.”

ADPH is working with local leaders to get the word out about the vaccine.

“Vaccines have been one of the most important strategies to save people’s lives," said Alabama Department of Public Health Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers.

Health officials said there are still a lot of unknowns. ADPH is still figuring out how to distribute the vaccine. But, it’s difficult logistically since they are not clear on which vaccine will be available. Each vaccine will need to follow different protocols.

ADPH will submit its plan to the federal government on how to distribute the vaccine on Friday.

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