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ADPH says at least 1-in-4 vaccinated in 42 counties

According to a Monday update from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), at least  25 percent of residents age 16 and older have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine in 42 of the state’s 67 counties.

Much of the Black Belt is included, specifically Dallas, Lowndes, Wilcox, Marengo and Montgomery counties, though the department warns that
“[s]upply remains an issue, as there is not yet enough vaccine available for everyone who would like to be vaccinated.”

Still, the ADPH is touting the fact that “efforts to achieve vaccine equity” have boosted the number of African-Americans receiving the vaccine, particularly across the Black Belt.

A large part of the state’s effort to better vaccinate residents in rural parts of the state hinges on the ongoing effort by the Alabama National Guard (ALNG), which continues to rotate its mobile clinic through 24 rural counties to provide vaccinations.

According to the ADPH update, the ALNG has so far administered more than 7,900 vaccinations in underserved and rural communities across the state, including Dallas County, which saw the Guard’s mobile clinic roll through two weeks ago.

Even with those robust efforts, the ADPH is continuing to “prioritize vulnerable populations,” the update said.

“When Alabama allocates vaccine doses, a prime consideration is reaching those who are most vulnerable if exposed to the virus,” the update stated. “The [ADPH] targets our most vulnerable citizens for COVID-19 vaccinations.”

According to the update, the department uses the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index in order “to help ensure those people living in the more disadvantaged counties are covered.”

“[Y]et barriers remain,” the update continued. “These include lack of transportation, inability to complete forms and difficulty in locating vaccination sites. ADPH is working with community groups to assist those who wish to be vaccinated but are having problems with access.”

To date, more than 10,600 Alabamians have died as a result of COVID-19 and nearly 517,000 have contracted the disease over the course of the more than year-long pandemic.

So far, more than 1.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state, which has so far received over 2.7 million doses.