HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines across the country will include almost 6.4 million doses.
The vaccines are coming soon, but when you can get one depends on who needs immunization against the virus the most.
The Alabama Department of Public Health said it could take until summer of 2021 for the general population to have the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Seventy-seven-year-old Edward Feil has a laundry list of health complications. He said he has called his doctors, the health department and local pharmacists trying to figure out if he qualifies for the vaccine.
“Who is on the list and how do you get on the list?” said Edward Feil.
Fearful of catching the virus, Feil doesn’t let anyone into his home. 48 News had to speak with him over the phone, because he didn’t feel comfortable meeting face-to-face.
“I am trying my dead level best to stay clear of the virus or catch it or anything,” Feil said.
At 77-years old, Feil has had his fair share of medical conditions. “Two rounds of congested heart failure, I have a pacemaker. Years ago, I got my kidney and half my bladder removed due to cancer. I have prostrate cancer.”
He says he wants to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
Currently, there are three vaccines expected to be under review for the FDAs Emergency Use Authorization.
Once it is approved, the vaccines will be shipped out across the country and the ADPH will kick-off its Vaccination Allocation Plan.
The plan is a phased-in approach:
- Phase 1 will focus largely on people who are at high risk and have ongoing exposure to the virus like health care workers and first responders.
- Phase 2 will stretch into early 2021 for those 65 and up, teachers, and critical workers.
- Phase 3, young adults ages 18 to 30.
By summer 2021 the vaccine is expected to be readily available for the general population.
“Alabama’s first allotment has been very tentatively identified as being around 112-thousand doses,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “That number is not a hard and fast number. It could change.”
Feil said he is not afraid or nervous to be one of the first people to receive a vaccine. He hopes others will follow suit, to knock this virus out and get us back to life as normal. “If they are going to give it to all the emergency help and all of that, they must be pretty sure that this stuff is going to work. I am willing to go for it.”
The vaccines under review would require two doses for it to be effective. A patient would take a dose about a month a part.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
The ADPH plans to release weekly updates regarding vaccine status and the distribution process.