Ivey: Alabama Will Lose COVID-19 Vaccine Doses if Residents Refuse to Participate
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement Tuesday regarding her disappointment that few Alabamians are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The stress stems from an order from the White House, in which the federal government will begin reallocating unused COVID-19 vaccine doses to states that seek more supplies. They're taking those doses from states that have shown the least interest in its citizens receiving it, and Alabama could be on its way to the short list.
According to a news release from the Alabama Department of Public Health, states have previously been given vaccine doses based on population counts. The new plan is to give unclaimed doses to states whose demand outweighs their current supply.
"Y’all, we want shots in the arms and off the shelf," Ivey said in a statement. "If you have not made it a priority to schedule a vaccine, I encourage you to go get the shot as soon as you are able. If you are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, please speak to a physician you trust and ask if he or she would recommend it for you."
This news comes in the same week that Ivey announced the expiration of her public health order and state of emergency. The order is set to expire May 31, 2021 and the state of emergency will end a week after that.
“Get vaccinated at your earliest opportunity,” said Scott Harris, Alabama's State Health Officer, in the ADPH release. “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19, and there is no charge for anyone, regardless of insurance status. Make vaccination a priority for your family, your community and yourself. If you have questions about whether you should be vaccinated, please ask your own doctor or personal healthcare provider.”
Harris remarked Monday that nearly two-thirds of Alabamians who are 65 years old or older have been vaccinated. Anyone in Alabama over the age of 16 is eligible to be vaccinated.
“Look, I have been vaccinated. I believe in the science, believe that it works and have confidence in it," Ivey said in a press release Monday. "...I have been fully vaccinated, and I will live like I have been fully vaccinated. Similar to when we ended the mask requirement, this final extension gives all Alabama health care providers, businesses and individuals adequate time to make preparations."
More than 1,300 providers are administering COVID-19 vaccines statewide, the release indicated. But, if public interest does not grow quickly, those doses will be sent to states that want them.
"If we don’t use it, we could lose it," Ivey said. "This is our ticket back to normal. The vaccine is free and could possibly save your life.”