East Alabama vaccine providers discuss trends since eligibility expansion

Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 8:23 PM EDT
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VALLEY, Ala. (WTVM) - It has been a week since vaccine eligibility in Alabama was expanded to include everyone 16 years old and older.

East Alabama vaccine providers said while they have seen more younger people coming to get vaccinated, they have not seen an influx in numbers overall since the eligibility expansion.

Pharmacist Kirsten Hood has been vaccinating people for COVID-19 for about a month at her pharmacy in Valley.

“We do everywhere between 15 to 35to 40 everyday,” she said.

For a week now, about 80 percent of Alabamians are eligible to get vaccinated.

Hood says she has seen a change in who is coming in for the shot.

“We are seeing a lot of younger people, even students, who are eligible,” she said. “They’ve gone ahead and gotten their vaccines.”

The East Alabama Medical Center’s (EAMC) community vaccine clinic is also seeing more younger people come through their doors.

“Obviously we’ve seen a lot more 16 and 17-year-olds than we did before,” said Bruce Zartman with EAMC said. “We’ve reached so many of the 65 plus and then 55 plus already, so we’re seeing a much younger crowd.”

Officials with EAMC say vaccine appointments have hit a plateau, even with the recent expanded eligibility.

“We’ve not seen the influx of patients I thought we would see,” Zartman said. “Last week, we had capacity even after that announcement.”

Officials with EAMC say they have plenty of appointments available next week for vaccinations and encourage you to grab one if you have been putting it off before they close the clinic for good.

“I don’t want to close this down early,” Zartman said. “If you’re on the fence, now’s the time to jump in.”

Hood was also hoping you’ll jump in and roll up your sleeve in Valley.

“We’re going through the Johnson & Johnson this week,” said Hood. “We still have plenty. We have more than enough to accommodate any Moderna requests.”

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