Alabamians 16 and older, no matter medical health status, will now be able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday– a change that would expand vaccine eligibility to four million citizens state-wide according to reports.
“We believe that everyone ought to receive this vaccine. It’s the way that Alabama gets back to normal. It’s the way that we put all of this behind us,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said according to WBHM
Previously, only groups 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, those 55 and older, and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities were able to receive the vaccination. However, this extension will allow groups without any pre-existing conditions over the age of 16 to become eligible.
Gov. Kate Ivey said the expansion is a vital pathway to putting the virus to rest in her announcement of the eligibility changes Friday at a vaccine clinic in Camden.
“Truly, this vaccine is our ticket back to normal life. We are so close to getting COVID-19 in the rearview, and until then, we should all keep wearing our masks, get vaccinated and use the common sense the good Lord gave us.” Ivey said in a press conference Friday.
Individuals will be able to receive one of three vaccines based on their age. Those 16 and older will be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine, while the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines are available to those 18 or older.
The eligibility expansion is one of the latest efforts to increase vaccination numbers in Alabama. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via WBHM, Alabama remains near the bottom for vaccinations on a per capita basis.
“I have committed to the people of Alabama that we are on a path forward, and while there is more work to be done, I remain hopeful and optimistic in where we are going,” Ivey said.
To get vaccinated, schedule an appointment at near community clinics or available medical centers.