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East Alabama residents, pharmacists gear up for expanded vaccine eligibility

Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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(WTVM) -As of Monday, April 5, most Alabamians are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Governor Kay Ivey announced the expanded eligibility for the state on Friday.

Auburn University senior Andrew Buford is now working out the details of when and where he’s going to receive his COVID-19 vaccine.

“There’s not a lot of availability right here,” said Buford. “I might have to go to Chambers County because now they only have a few spots open.”

He is one of more than four million Alabamians who are now eligible to get vaccinated. Ivey expanded eligibility to everyone in the state who’s 16 and older.

“I’m sure everyone is going to be racing now to get vaccinated,” Buford said.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is available for everyone 16 years old and older. You must at least 18 to receive the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Mary White’s son was just vaccinated. She said she had no concerns about her 18-year-old receiving the shot.

“To me, it’s just like another flu shot,” she said. “We’ve all been taking the flu shots forever. You know, go and get it done.”

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), with this latest expansion, about 80 percent of the state is now eligible to receive the vaccine.

“It’s really wide open,” said Barbara Hardwick, the pharmacy manger of Jones Drugs. “We’re really hoping as many people in Russell County come and take advantage of this.”

Hardwick said they are ready for more and more people to roll up their sleeves.

“We’re not giving appointments a month away,” she said. “We’re giving appointments two days away or three days away. When we open at 10 o’clock each day here. The phone is wide open.”

According to ADPH, more than 1.8 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Alabama. Buford’s hoping with expanded eligibility, this number will continue growing quickly.

“We need to have everyone vaccinated as soon as possible,” Buford said.

When it comes to mass vaccination sites in our area, ADPH has one planned in Eufaula on Friday at Baker Hill School from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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