BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - While the state is expanding vaccine eligibility to more groups, they’re also now asking those who can wait to get the shot to delay their turn.
Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said the new addition of groups means more than 1.5 million people are now this qualifying phase, but she is hoping some people will let others go first.
“We know the importance of everyone getting COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. Landers said “Opening up this category without a lot of additional vaccine is certainly a concern.”
She said it’s important to prioritize within your own group or entity, because not everyone who qualifies has equal risks of catching the virus.
“There is not enough vaccine,” Landers said. “Perhaps if there is a more vulnerable person that might be able to take that vaccine a little bit before you, then let them have that opportunity.”
She said you need to look at your health risk factors. If you are someone with heart or kidney disease, Landers said you shouldn’t delay your shot. But, if you’re someone with no underlying health issues, it may be better for you to wait.
“We are not telling just 65 year old’s,” Landers said. “We are telling everyone within this phase to be mindful of the fact that we have less vaccine. Really asses your individual health situation and just note that persons are going to be more vulnerable.”
She said it’s also important to consider how often you interact with others or if you’re more isolated, like working from home or a small office.
“Within a grocery store, there could be more exposure within that occupational setting,” Dr. Landers said. “The person who is at the check out line, that is encountering multiple persons all day long, or the persons that might be in a different section of the store where they have less contact.
Dr. Landers said she does not want people to delay their shot for months. She said it is a personal decision based off your health.
“I would not say that persons should delay for months and months,” Landers said. “I don’t think it is something we will say ‘let’s delay for six months’ when we are in an at-risk category.”
Landers said additional vaccines being approved by the FDA will help speed up the process.
“If there is an additional product approved, I think that will be very helpful.”