As first COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved, get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible

Special to Atmore News

All too few Alabamians realize the seriousness of infection with COVID-19 and have not made the decision to be vaccinated or have postponed getting the free vaccine that will save them, their families and communities from this devastating virus. Hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are rising rapidly, and vaccines are highly effective.

Now that U.S. regulators have given full approval to the Pfizer mRNA vaccine for individuals age 16 and older, those people who have delayed scheduling their COVID-19 vaccinations should have increased confidence to act. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality.

Retail pharmacies and other providers in more than a thousand locations throughout the state have ample supplies of COVID-19 vaccine on hand at no charge with or without insurance coverage. While appointments are preferred due to the availability of staff, many pharmacies welcome walk-ins. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization for adolescents ages 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) emphasizes that there are two other safe and effective vaccines available. In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are authorized for adults age 18 and older. County health departments currently give the Moderna vaccine, but other providers such as hospitals and pharmacies offer the Pfizer vaccine and may also be giving the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Please check contact the provider to check which vaccines are offered before scheduling your appointment. While appointments are preferred due to the availability of staff, many pharmacies welcome walk-ins.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “We have high levels of disease transmission in every county throughout the state. COVID-19 vaccination will help keep our communities safe and our children in school.”

He added that for those individuals who have only received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and have delayed completing the two-dose series, it is not too late to get their second dose.

Alabamians can receive a COVID-19 vaccine through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program at select Costco, CVS, Sam’s Club, Walgreens and Walmart locations, among others, across the state.

For information about COVID-19, visit for specific pharmacy locations, hours and vaccine products available, visit