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Alabama vaccine eligibility expands to all people 16 and older

Beginning, April 5, the Alabama Department of Public Health will extend eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to include individuals age 16 and older.

ALABAMA, USA — Today Alabamians age sixteen and older became eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine. So far, only the Pfizer vaccine can be administered to people at age sixteen.

However doctors believe this is an opportunity for younger people to get vaccinated.

Close to two million doses have been administered in Alabama. However doctors believe Alabama still has some catching up to do.

"Alabama percentages of people who are vaccinated, continue to be one of the lowest between all of the United States. So, I think we're going to need to push more and more to get people vaccinated," says Huntsville Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Ali Hassoun.

Even though this is an opportunity for more vaccinations, Hassoun says it could take some months before we reach herd immunity.

Who is eligible for Alabama COVID vaccines?

Governor Kay Ivey announced on April 2 that beginning on Monday, April 5, Alabama Dept. of Public Health will allow Alabamians 16+ to get whatever vaccine brands are available. Shots still cannot be "mix and match".

“I have committed to the people of Alabama that we are on a path forward, and while there is more work to be done, I remain hopeful and optimistic in where we are going. Recent findings from the CDC show preliminary data suggesting that vaccinated individuals do not appear to be spreading the virus, so that is hopeful, underscores the effectiveness of the vaccine and is yet another reason to get the shot,” Governor Ivey said. “Truly, this vaccine is our ticket back to normal life. We are so close to getting COVID-19 in the rearview, and until then, we should all keep wearing our masks, get vaccinated and use the common sense the good Lord gave us.”

RELATED: FAQs: How to find an Alabama COVID vaccine and other important COVID information

Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson vaccines

The Pfizer vaccine is available to individuals ages 16 years and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are both available to individuals ages 18 years and older.  

RELATED: Can COVID-19 vaccines be mixed and matched?

How many vaccine doses are available?

According to the Governor's office, with this expansion, there will be close to 4 million eligible individuals in the state of Alabama. Currently, the state receives approximately 115,000 first doses each week.

This means that those who want to get vaccinated may have to wait.

"In the initial phases of our vaccine allocation plan, we have given just over 1.7 million shots. These shots have gone to more than 1.1 million Alabamians most at risk of illness and death due to COVID-19,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “As progress has been made, equitable vaccine distribution has been and remains a driving force in immunizing state residents. The increased supply of safe and effective vaccines means all adults who wish to be vaccinated are now eligible to receive the protection vaccines offer."

As of April 1, 1,724,463 doses have been administered in the state.