BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Alabama State Conference NAACP has teamed up with the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medicine, and the Alabama Department of Public Health in hopes of encouraging minority communities to get vaccinated. They hosted the last of four info-session about the vaccine.
Our WZDX News reporter hears from doctors and scientists on vaccine safety and accessibility.
"We've identified nine counties that we're going to make sure that we're going to focus on," says Alabama Department of Public Health, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mary McIntyre, M.D.
Infectious disease specialists at UAB say if Alabama continues the pace of vaccination, we could see 150,000 doses administered a week in the next month.
"Anything that can get us to a level where we have more protection before things start to open up widely is just incredibly critical," says UAB Medicine Infectious Disease Director, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D.
Some questions include if people who are HIV Positive can receive the vaccine
"People living with HIV have been trial participants at least the Moderna and in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial. So it's been tested in that and it's been shown to probably work in those individuals as well and it's also safe," says UAB Medicine Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Paul Goepfert.
As far as access to vaccine, public health officials say doses are available for everyone including migrants. Officials say the allocation was based on last year's U.S. Census.
"Some of the vaccinators and some of the sites have taken it upon themselves to require I.D. from people but that's not something that's coming from the state as a whole," says McIntyre.
CVS Pharmacy store reached out to the Alabama Department of Public Health, sharing that their stores have vaccine available.
CVS contacted us today to say that they were not having as many people contacting them as they have available," says Mary McIntyre.
There are about ten CVS stores in Alabama that are carrying vaccine. The closest store to carry it is in Lawrence County, but as of now is fully booked.
Fewer than fourteen percent of Black or African Americans make up the number of people vaccinated in Alabama.
A combined percentage of American Indians and Asians make up less than two percent.
Members of the NAACP want people to know the vaccine is safe.
"I have told everyone who would listen, that I have taken my first dose. I had no issues with the vaccine. I am looking forward to taking my second dose", Alabama State Conference NAACP Executive Director, Terra Foster.
To join the Zoom call, click here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a plethora of information on how to protect yourself and other from the coronavirus.
The virus can easily spread from person to person, so the CDC recommends you stay at least 6-feet apart from people not in your household. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breaths or talks, according to the CDC. Because of this, the CDC recommends you wear a cloth facemask when around others and in public.
Additionally, the CDC recommends that you frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Symptoms to look out for include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, a sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC.
Click here to find more COVID-19 information from the CDC.
If you suspect you have the coronavirus, you should seek out testing and self-quarantine.
Click here to find more COVID-19 information from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
For the most up-to-date COVID vaccine information, check out this WZDX story: Alabama COVID vaccine updates