RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced Friday the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in Alabama will be expanded to include anyone over the age of 16 starting Monday.
“I have committed to the people of Alabama to remain on a path moving forward. I remain hopeful that this will continue to push us farther back to normal,” Ivey said.
After waiting many months in anticipation of this news, Russell County health officials are optimistic this will help expedite the number of vaccines administered.
“To me, the more people we can get vaccinated, the quicker we can get back to some sort of normalcy,” said Bob Franklin, Russell County EMA director.
“We are in a lot better shape than we were seven months ago. We have much more vaccine availability,” said Tim Hatch with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Alabama has been receiving 115,000 COVID-19 vaccines weekly, but with Ivey’s announcement Friday, the state will be receiving additional supply to help account for the expected uptick in demand. This to be dispersed among the state’s 67 counties.
“We still have a long way to go. I think right now we have vaccinated about 13 percent of the eligible population the 16 and above in Russell County who have received a vaccine,” Franklin said.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, there have been roughly 1.7 million doses administered as of April 1, which leaves an estimated four million who are eligible beginning Monday across the state.
While the Yellowhammer State still has a long way to go, Alabamians are optimistic this expansion will eventually lead to a brighter future.
“This way the children can get back in school and eventually, I’m sure younger children will be able to get it too,” Brenda Martin said.
“I think it is amazing,” Deborah Banks said. “Hopefully, everyone gets a vaccine so we can get back to the business of the business.”