People 75 years old or older and first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters, will be able to get COVID-19 vaccinations statewide by appointment only beginning January 18, Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health announced.
Appointments at locations throughout the state will be first come, first served. The governor’s office said the addition of the groups is not a full expansion into the next phase of the vaccine rollout.
To schedule an appointment for the free COVID-19 vaccination, call the ADPH toll-free phone number at 1-855-566-5333. Calls are answered from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week.
A couple of hours after making the announced, the ADPH said it was swamped with calls.
“Due to massive call volume, callers to the COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline are encouraged to try their call again later if they get a busy signal,” ADPH said. “The hotline has received over 338,000 calls within the first few hours of operation. We are rapidly adding staff to assist callers and appreciate your patience.”
Here is the link to see vaccination locations and additional specific information, such as what to bring and what to wear, will be provided when appointments are made.
People who want to be vaccinated at sites other than a county health department, such as a private provider, should contact those sites.
“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,” Ivey said in a press release. “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.”
Alabama is still working to vaccinate more than 326,000 health care workers and nursing home residents who are most at-risk of contracting COVID-19, the governor’s office said. As the vaccine uptake for this category is satisfied, ADPH is now encouraging sites to vaccinate people 75 and older and those in the law enforcement and firefighter vocations to prevent loss of vaccine because of cold chain storage requirements.
“We recognize that demand for vaccine exceeds supply,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “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.”
Related: Everything you need to know about the COVID vaccine in Alabama
Nearly 350,000 people in Alabama would qualify for a vaccine at 75 and older, the governor’s office said.
More information about COVID-19 vaccines.