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COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to expand March 22

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine is set to expand on March 22 to allow those with high risk medical conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, additional front-line workers and those 55 and older to receive the vaccine.
“We have been concerned that many people at high risk and others engaged in close contact work have not been eligible to receive the vaccine yet, but with the additional vaccine supply we are better able to meet the needs of Alabama residents,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in the release. “Starting March 22, individuals can be assured of receiving the shots they have been patiently waiting to get.”
Those who are 16 -64 but have a high-risk medical condition will become eligible for the vaccine on March 22. Some of the qualifying conditions include
•        Cancer
•        Chronic kidney disease
•        COPD
•        Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state
•        Solid organ transplant
•        Obesity, BMI greater than 30
•        Pregnancy
•        Sickle cell disease
•        Smoking
•        Type 1 and 2 diabetes
•        Other medical conditions as determined by your medical provider

“Critical workers in the following areas who were not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b will be eligible:

•        Transportation and logistics
•        Waste and wastewater
•        Food service (includes restaurant staff)
•        Shelter and housing (construction)
•        Finance (bank tellers)
•        Information technology and communication
•        Energy
•        Legal
•        Media
•        Public safety (engineers)”

In Chilton County, vaccine providers listed by the Alabama Department of Public Health include Ritky C Dy Medical Clinic in Clanton, St. Vincent’s Chilton Hospital, the Chilton County Health Department, Walmart and Cahaba Medical Care in Maplesville.

Even though eligibility is being expanded availability is still limited. Appointments are required. Some facilities may have a waitlist.

“While around two-thirds of Alabama residents will qualify to receive the vaccine, the state receives between 110,000 and 120,000 first doses each week,” according to the press release. “During the week of March 29 through April 2, additional vaccination clinics will be planned around the state.

More than 1.7 million vaccines had been delivered to Alabama as of March 11.

Three vaccines have now been developed Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Alabama is expanding its guidance to accelerate access to the safe and effective vaccines now available in our state,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said in the release. “While authorized vaccines roll out and more people are vaccinated, everyone needs to continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing to protect their loved ones and the many vulnerable people in the state.”

For general information about COVID-19, call the COVID-19 Hotline number at 1-800-270-7268.