Site icon Greene County Democrat

SOS urges priority for Black and Brown people Alabama expands eligibility for coronavirus vaccinations, despite limited supplies and racial disparity in vaccination rates

The State Department of Public Health (ADPH) and Governor Ivey announced that starting February 8, ADPH will extend eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to include people 65 or older, and additional groups of frontline workers.
Frontline critical workers listed in the plan are as follows: First responders, Corrections officers, Food and agriculture workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, Manufacturing workers, Grocery store workers, Public transit workers, People who work in the education sector (teachers, support staff, community college and higher education), Childcare workers, Judiciary (including but not limited to) circuit judges, district judges and district attorneys.
The additional priority groups will add over 1 million people that are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Alabama. While just under 2 million people will qualify to receive the vaccine, the state continues to only receive around 100,000 doses each week.“We have all been frustrated that the supply of vaccine coming from the federal government hasn’t kept up with the demand,” Governor Ivey said. “To be blunt, we simply haven’t gotten the vaccine that we’ve been promised, and this has created a major backlog of aggravation. Today’s announcement will ensure that as more vaccine is released, we will have a plan in place to get the vaccine in people’s arms more quickly.”
 
“Alabama is expanding its guidance despite the limited vaccine in order to accelerate the vaccine uptake in our state,” Dr. Scott Harris said. “I want to reiterate that any remaining vaccines that have not been administered are either someone’s first dose and they are waiting on their appointment or they are waiting on their second dose. Any vaccine currently in the state has someone’s name on it.”
 
The COVID-19 Vaccination Eligibility Check and Scheduling Portal is available at www.alcovidvaccine.gov. The portal allows people to schedule available vaccine appointments, access a map of drive-through and walk-in locations, and sign up to be notified as new priority groups are available to receive vaccine. Appointments may not be available immediately at this time, as ADPH continues to be limited by the amount of vaccine provided by the federal government.
Access to appointments will grow as supply from the federal government increases. As of Tuesday, February 2, 18,820 appointments have been scheduled since the portal launched on Monday afternoon. The portal is seeing around 300 active users at a time, and has booked an average of 900 appointments per hour.
Current assessment of vaccine supply and expectations for shipments over the next month indicate that many public health clinics will have to focus heavily on providing second doses for the month of February. Individuals are encouraged to visit drive-through and walk-in clinics, or other vaccine providers, if appointments are not currently available at a county health department location.
Beginning the week of February 8, there will be 8 large scale drive-through clinics throughout the state. Clinics will be located in Anniston, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Selma, and Tuscaloosa. The goal is for each location to be able to give 1,000 vaccines per day that week, totaling 40,000 doses administered.  Additional information will be provided about the location in each city.   
To schedule an appointment for the free COVID-19 vaccination at a county health department, individuals may call the ADPH COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline at 1-855-566-5333.  For general information about COVID-19, the COVID-19 Information Hotline number is 1-800-270-7268. In Greene County, you may call the local health department at 205-372-9361 to make an appointment.
 
SOS urges state to give priority to Black and Brown
People

The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy urges the State of Alabama to revise its coronavirus vaccination policies to give priority to Black, Brown and other people of color in the vaccination schedule, appointments and locations.
SOS recognizes that Black and Brown people in Alabama have been twice as likely to contract and three times as likely to die from the coronavirus. This is because of past inequities in the healthcare system, which also means that Black and Brown people have more underlying conditions, work in more frontline positions and live in more congested conditions.
Reports from the CDC and other health agencies indicate that Black, Brown and other people of color are receiving vaccinations at a lower rate and a
proportion lower than their proportion in the state population.
For these reasons, Black and Brown people should be moved to the front of the appointment line, in every category, for vaccination against the coronavirus, because they are the most vulnerable, most susceptible to infection, most likely to spread to others and most likely to become more seriously ill and die. Adjusting the vaccination priorities will help make everyone safer from the virus.
SOS also urges that more vaccinations be provided in Black and Brown communities using churches, schools and other community facilities. Priority in the use of increased vaccine availability and FEMA emergency support for the vaccination program should be focused on Black and Brown communities. This includes proving mobile vans and buses to bring the vaccinations to remote rural communities in the Alabama Black Belt counties.
SOS also reiterates its basic demand that the Governor and Legislature of Alabama expand Medicaid coverage to serve over 300,000 working poor in the state, especially during this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. Expanding Medicaid would provide healthcare to the neediest communities and provide jobs and economic development throughout the state.
 

Exit mobile version