Should be available in Alabama mid-December
Special to Atmore News
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, as soon as mid-December, healthcare providers and the chronically ill in Alabama could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine. U.S. Army Gen. Gustave Perna, Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed, recently spoke with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris about the rapid progress that will make it possible for an initial supply of vaccine products to be available in the state as soon as a vaccine is authorized.
Large amounts of vaccine from different companies have already been produced and stored while clinical trials are ongoing. Extraordinary precautions are taken to protect the stockpiles of vaccine, including armed guards. The federal government will allocate initial vaccine supplies to states and jurisdictions.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to take about two weeks to review vaccine products. As soon as the FDA makes its review, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will study the data and make recommendations. After the FDA confirms a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and when an Emergency Use Authorization is received, vaccine kits will be shipped to several locations statewide and pre-positioned to provide immunizations in Alabama.
Persons identified to receive vaccine first include healthcare workers and first responders.
All Americans can receive their initial vaccine treatment without any charge, including people with no health insurance. Gen. Perna and Dr. Harris emphasized that the goal is for all people to have access to the free vaccine regardless of their financial status or location. Distribution of the vaccine will be made equitably to those most at risk, the chronically ill and seniors in all 67 Alabama counties.
Alabama COVID-19 vaccine information is available by going to https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/vaccine.html.
COVID-19 in Escambia Co.
The latest data on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on Escambia County, Ala., according to Escambia County Healthcare Authority report of Tuesday, November 17, 2020:
Total confirmed cases (county): 1,883
Increase since November 13 report: 21
Deaths: 31 (no change)
Atmore Community Hospital
Confirmed cases: 628
D.W. McMillan Mem. Hospital
Confirmed cases: 269
According to data reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, no new cases were reported among residents or staff at either Atmore Nursing Center or West Gate Village during the week ended November 1 (5 straight reporting periods).