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It’s important to understand the vaccine process

As the time nears for the initial distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, Alabama’s health care provider organizations want to share some important information with you.

First, even with the anticipated approval of vaccines in December, the CDC has prioritized the first supply for health care workers, nursing home residents and first responders who are at high risk for COVID-19 exposure. A supply of vaccine will not be available to the general public until sometime in 2021. In the meantime, the number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama continues to drastically increase at alarming rates. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to practice the critical safety measures of wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing our hands.

Second, Alabama’s health care providers are working with the Alabama Department of Public Health to plan for the safe and effective distribution of the vaccine once it is made available. In addition, along with providers nationwide, we are committed to the scientific process by which the COVID-19 vaccines are being evaluated and tested.

Finally, knowing that this virus has already claimed the lives of more than 3,700 Alabamians and infected one quarter of a million in our state, we believe the impending vaccinations are critical in the fight against the further spread of COVID-19. Historically, vaccines have saved lives. Consider the vaccines that eradicated smallpox, polio, and minimized the impact of hundreds of other deadly diseases. Our expectation is that the COVID-19 vaccines will produce similar results, and we can return to our normal lives soon.

As always, our ultimate goal is the health and safety of all Alabamians.  With everyone’s help and cooperation, we will get through this together.

Alabama Hospital Association, Don Williamson, MD, president

Alabama Nursing Home Association, Brandon Farmer, president and CEO

Alabama State Nurses Association, John C. Ziegler, D.Min, MA, BA, executive director

Medical Association of the State of Alabama, Mark Jackson, executive director