State health officials expect to have the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine ready at the end of the year, which will be available for all Alabama residents free of cost.
The vaccine will be distributed to prioritized groups first — healthcare workers, the elderly and the immunocompromised will receive the first doses.
“The biggest concern is going to be the limited amounts of vaccine we have at first,” said Alabama Department of Public Health State Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “So just for example, young healthy college students might not be the first to receive the vaccine, but once a sufficient supply is available, they’ll be available to everyone.”
Although vaccines are on the way, Harris said heeding mask and social distancing guidelines is the best way to keep the virus from spreading.
“I do think there’s an element of COVID fatigue,” he said. “The only tools we have in our toolbox right now until we get a vaccine or more effective treatment is to get people to change their behavior.
“Ultimately, you’ve got to make a decision to do those things, several times a day, all day every day.”
There have been more than 174,528 cases of COVID-19 in Alabama with more than 2,633 confirmed deaths for the state – with nine deaths and 1,305 cases coming from Pike County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.