HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Huntsville health professionals met via Zoom on Thursday to share their concerns over the state of COVID-19 in Alabama.
Alabama is 50th in the nation for vaccinations and number one for COVID test positivity results. Both of those stats have health officials worried, and they're trying to answer questions and provide insight on why the vaccine is so important.
Neurologist Dr. Aruna Arora says, "We are really against a race and the clock is ticking and unfortunately the trend is not a favorable one...and Madison County is the most vaccinated county in the state."
But those vaccination rates aren't high enough to balance out the flood of new cases...and cases are even rising for pediatric patients.
Dr. Kym Middleton, pediatric hospitalist, says, "Now that the masks went away, we actually had a huge surge of that. And so we've been inundated with not only, increasing rise of COVID patients but also all of these children with respiratory illnesses, and unfortunately, they are getting very sick."
And for those concerned that vaccines have not been fully approved by the FDA and are still being used under Emergency Authorization?
Dr. Roger Smalligan, regional Dean of the UAB School of Medicine in Huntsville, says, "I suspect that the FDA and the regulatory agencies are just wanting to make sure they have...I don't know what number of months they're waiting for...to make sure that they're not seeing any after-effects from this."
Health officials say Alabamians will be immune one way or another. Either they'll get the vaccine or, the way numbers are going, they'll catch the virus. And even if you've had COVID, a vaccine is still recommended. The CDC says that’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.