HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Vaccine eligibility in the state of Alabama is expanding!
Beginning Monday March 22nd, the state will open Phase 1C of the state’s vaccine allocation plan.
This move opens eligibility to those ages 55 and older along with those who have high risk medical conditions, additional critical workers, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
An additional two million Alabamians will soon be eligible for the vaccine.
“We have chosen to do that based on a number of reasons,” said Doctor Scott Harris. “A lot of that has to do with expectations from the public as they see other states doing that. And in some degree, it is our anticipation in what we hope is an increase in vaccine supply.”
On Monday March 22nd, two thirds of Alabamians will qualify for the vaccine. State Health Officer Doctor Scott Harris said the state will still receive roughly 120-thousand first doses each week. “Very strong demand right now, I recognized there are people in our currently eligible group right now who are having difficulties finding vaccinations, so I am sure many folks are going to ask why expand at this time. But we do believe it is the right time to do that.”
The same day eligibility expands in the state, troops with the national guard will deploy across the Black Belt region in hopes of vaccinating an additional four thousand people a week. “At this time, they are intended to be walk up, drive-thru, walk up, non-appointment only. If that changes, we will let you know but that is our plan at the moment.”
On Thursday President Joe Biden said he will encourage all states to open eligibility to all adults by May 1st. Doctor Harris said Alabama will follow the President’s direction.
“He said specifically he thinks states should expand eligibility by May 1st and there will be enough vaccines to do that by the end of May, that is a little bit of a challenge to figure out. But absolutely we will do that if not before depending on what our vaccine supply allows us to do.”
Additional vaccination clinics will be also planned around the state late this month.
We will update you when we learn where they are going.