vaccine

Submitted / The Outlook

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) made its COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration plan available to the public on Friday. The goal of the plan is to immunize everyone who is eligible to receive a safe, effective and approved COVID-19 vaccine.

The plan describes the allocation of vaccine to Alabamians once it becomes available, possibly before the end of 2020. The initial draft plan, developed in coordination with other state and local agencies, was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Oct. 16.

Several vaccine products are currently in clinical trials and will be released after their safety has been reviewed and approved by a panel of health experts. Vaccine will be provided free of charge.

The complete plan may be viewed at the Alabama Public Health website. 

“We want to assure the public that there will be equitable distribution of vaccine to all Alabamians, especially to vulnerable populations in rural and urban areas,” state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “Many external partners will have input in vaccine allocations.”

Aspects of the plan include a three-phased approach to COVID-19 vaccination, critical populations, provider recruitment and enrollment and many additional sections pertaining to vaccine. These include storage and handling, documentation and reporting, second-dose reminders, regulatory considerations, vaccine safety and program monitoring.

• In Phase 1, potentially limited doses of vaccine will be available and they will be targeted to those at highest risk and highest risk of exposure, first responders and healthcare workers who care for those with critical needs. 

• In Phase 2, large numbers of doses will be available, and supply is likely to meet demand. Educational efforts will target critical populations who were not vaccinated in Phase 1.

• In Phase 3, there is likely to be a sufficient supply and all unvaccinated groups will be targeted. Special attention will be directed to populations or communities with low vaccine coverage.

ADPH will ensure implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program through tracking of provider enrollment, mapping of locations of vaccination services, monitoring performance of the Alabama Immunization Information System, Immunization Patient Registry with Integrated Technology (ImmPRINT) and tracking of vaccine ordering and distribution. More than 2,677 Alabama healthcare sites currently utilize ImmPRINT and there are more than 5 million patients of all ages and over 60 million vaccine doses recorded in ImmPRINT.

ADPH continues its efforts to recruit hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and other partners capable of storing vaccine and administering it to priority populations. These partners are required to sign the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Agreement and Profile, demonstrate ability to store vaccine under the required conditions and establish a process for reporting all administered doses of vaccine to ImmPRINT within 24 hours of administration.

ADPH will ensure distribution of vaccination sites across the state, especially in rural counties and areas with high concentrations of people in vulnerable populations.