As we round out our first year of a global pandemic, many people are asking, “When can we go back to normal?”
The answer lies in the vaccine that rolled out earlier this year.
At the beginning of the month, Governor Kay Ivey extended the mask mandate, allowing for more Alabamians to get vaccinated before the mandate expires. As of now, the mandate is set to expire on April 9.
In the beginning stages of rollout, the issue was finding enough vaccines for every American. Now that problem’s been solved, the issue lies in getting the vaccines in enough arms before they expire.
Can I get vaccinated yet?
Currently, the following people qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine:
- Those ages 16-65 with one of the following medical conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state
- Solid organ transplant
- Obesity, BMI greater than 30
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 1 and 2 diabetes
- Other medical conditions as determined by your healthcare provider.
- Essential workers
- Transportation and logistics
- Waste and wastewater
- Food service (includes restaurant staff)
- Shelter and housing (construction)
- Finance (bank tellers)
- Information technology and communication
- Public safety (engineers)
If you fit into one of these categories, visit The Alabama COVID-19 Vaccine Info Hub to sign up for a shot!
When will I qualify?
Well, assuming you are in good health and not over 65, you can expect a vaccine to become available to you when we enter phase two of distribution. Currently, we are in stage 1c, the last before stage 2. In short, it looks promising that soon all Alabamians will have the opportunity to get vaccinated.
If you don’t want to sit around waiting for the announcement that we have entered phase two, you have a couple of options:
- This Alabama Department of Public Health has set up a mobile alert system to send SMS and/or email communications when vaccine eligibility opens wider.
- USA Health has a similar alert system you can use to monitor eligibility
After earlier news stories of wasted COVID-19 vaccines, people did what they do best in a COVID-ridden world, they took to the internet.
Now, there is an entire website, VaccineHunter.Org, which is designed to help match its consumers with yet-unused doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
While there have been relatively low reported cases of vaccination waste as of late, this is partially due to the efforts of public notification when there are more doses than arms at any vaccination station.
As recent as March 11, vaccine stations in Mobile had thousands of doses available to those in need.
A good way to find your dose is to stay up to date on local news sites for announcements of extra doses. Facebook groups based on your area are also a wonderful place to start.
Where do I go?
The Alabama Department of Public Health has been working within itself and by partnering with companies like Walmart and CVS to make vaccines more widely available. As of today, vaccines are being distributed at the following locations:
- Walmart and Sam’s Club
- Local health departments
- Some local health departments have arranged for a large-scale drive-through vaccine distribution point. In Mobile, the location is the Mobile Civic Center at 401 Civic Center Dr.
- For information specific o your locality, check the Vaccine Finder from Alabama Department of Public Health.
For more information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine itself, check out our conversation with Blue Cross-Blue Shield Alabama about vaccine myths.