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Free vaccines for people 75+ and first responders in Alabama start Jan. 18; waiting list for appointments available

Please don't call your local hospital. Vaccine appointments and waiting list requests are set up though the Alabama Dept. of Public Health.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Governor Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris announced that COVID vaccines will be available to Alabamians 75 or older and first responders starting on Jan. 18.

Please don't call your local hospital for an appointment. Appointments are set through the Alabama Dept. of Public Health (ADPH). You can now request to be added to a waiting list for an appointment.

The appointment hotline is receiving an overwhelming response and ADPH is asking people to be patient and call back of they receive a busy signal.

Hospitals throughout Alabama are overwhelmed in providing care to both COVID-19 patients as well as responding to all other medical needs of our citizens.

ADPH says that while hospitals in a few areas of the state have begun vaccinating those 75 years of age and older, most are still working to make sure their frontline workers are vaccinated. Additional information will be provided when hospitals and locations other than county health departments have vaccine available for additional groups.

Vaccination will be available by appointment only, and official admit that demand exceeds supply.

“We recognize that demand for vaccine exceeds supply,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “While there is still an insufficient amount of the vaccine supply, we want to maximize our resources to help protect Alabamians at high risk. County health departments are working with their local points of distribution to assess what their vaccination reach has been. Decisions about the next groups to vaccinate are made at the community level with community engagement. If the very high-risk population has been covered adequately, providers can then begin vaccinating people in the other priority groups.”

Nearly 350,000 people in the state of Alabama would qualify for a vaccine at 75 years old and older.

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To schedule an appointment for the free COVID-19 vaccination, individuals may call the ADPH toll-free phone number at 1-855-566-5333. Telephone calls are answered from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week. 

Vaccination locations can be viewed here. Additional specific information, such as what to bring and what to wear, will be provided when appointments are made. 

If wanting to be vaccinated at sites other than a county health department, such as a private provider, individuals should contact those sites directly.

“I appreciate the swift work of ADPH to establish a system to efficiently provide our limited resources of vaccine to as many Alabamians as possible,” Governor Ivey said. “We have previously worked to provide vaccines to our health care workers who are on the front lines of the pandemic, and now, are diligently working to expand access to our seniors, law enforcement officers and various members of our first responders. It is critical for everyone to remain patient; demand is high, and supply is low. ADPH and their partners are working around-the-clock to assist as many people as they can.” 

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