State Health Officer explains coronavirus vaccine process

He said the first vaccines could make it to Alabama by the end of the year.

Posted: Oct 15, 2020 6:07 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2020 7:28 PM

The State Health Officer gave WAAY 31 an update on the coronavirus vaccine process, and how long it could be until we have one to use in Alabama.

Scott Harris, State Health Officer, said Thursday the state is submitting its COVID-19 vaccination plan to the federal government on Friday and they expect a response in two weeks.

"Over the past 3 to 4 weeks, we've really been talking every single day with the CDC and the federal partners because we're asked to submit a plan to them tomorrow," he said.

Harris said his team has spent the last month preparing a plan on how it will distribute COVID-19 vaccines across the state, and the first doses could be here before 2021.

"The things that we know or we think we know are that all of the federal folks we've spoken to all this time have suggested that we will probably have some type of vaccine product out by the end of the year," he said.

Harris explained they have to decide who will be able to get the vaccine when the first batches arrive and that's a part of the plan they submitted to the federal government.

"It will not be in large amounts at that time. On one hand, we are worried about people being hesitant the vaccine and what the uptake is going to be. We also think we're going to have a scarce resource. I think that the amount we have will not be enough for the people that want it," he said.

No vaccines have been approved yet, but Harris explained there could be 5 to 7 different vaccines that hit the market at once.

"Every product isn't going to be appropriate for every person, so for example, some vaccines are being tried in phase three studies with people who have chronic comorbidities, chronic medical conditions. Some of them are being tried in certain age groups, some of them are being tried in various demographic groups, and so it may well be not everyone is going to be the right one for everybody," he said.

He explained they want everyone in the state to know the work that goes into the plan and want to continue to talk about vaccines to make people comfortable in getting it when it arrives.

"This is a really, really complicated plan to put together. We don't know when the doses are coming and we don't know how much product we are going to get," he said.

Harris said they expect to hear back from the feds on their plan by Oct. 27. Once it's been approved and finalized, they'll release it to the public so everyone in the state is prepared for when the vaccine is released.

He explained why people can trust that the coronavirus vaccine trials happening right now are working normally despite news that some of them are having to change their methods.

Harris said hearing COVID-19 vaccine trials are being paused for safety concerns is a good thing. He explained that's something that happens with many trials and should be a sign to everyone that thorough studies are being performed.

Harris explained the advisory committee of immunization practices has a longstanding process for vaccines. He said they're responsible for evaluating clinical trials and medical evidence. Harris explained if the ACIP accepts a vaccine, it's something he trusts and accepts. He explained why the group isn't politically motivated.

"It's not a political group, it's not appointed by the government, it's not connected to this administration or any other administration. And that's the approval that has to occur, before it's going to be released or is going to be made available," he said.

Harris said immunity is important and it's the next step to stopping the virus. That immunity will be achieved with a successful vaccine.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 779449

Reported Deaths: 11501
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby876181509
Davidson81809871
Knox46250587
Hamilton40539463
Rutherford38563386
Williamson25382204
Sumner21448318
Montgomery17484213
Out of TN1706694
Wilson16510211
Unassigned15772127
Sullivan14431274
Blount14141183
Bradley12996141
Washington12818234
Maury12246163
Sevier12109164
Putnam10635170
Madison10123230
Robertson8997121
Hamblen8063165
Anderson8044158
Greene7309145
Tipton6962103
Coffee6418115
Dickson6256106
Gibson6196141
Cumberland6127122
Carter5990155
McMinn594592
Roane592696
Bedford5816120
Loudon571966
Jefferson5688119
Lawrence557483
Monroe536590
Warren532576
Hawkins527195
Dyer5242101
Franklin475785
Fayette468372
Obion436995
Lincoln415662
Rhea415273
Cocke401295
Cheatham394544
Marshall391956
Campbell381859
Weakley379359
Giles375297
Henderson362273
Carroll349181
White339366
Hardeman338864
Macon337273
Hardin331563
Lauderdale309642
Henry301275
Marion294744
Scott288144
Wayne287630
Overton285557
Claiborne283069
McNairy268353
Hickman266541
DeKalb266151
Haywood264960
Smith256936
Grainger244246
Trousdale239822
Morgan230338
Fentress229544
Johnson217138
Chester202348
Bledsoe201010
Crockett197547
Unicoi181447
Polk177722
Cannon176730
Union173033
Grundy169730
Lake167926
Sequatchie157327
Humphreys154921
Decatur153837
Benton151039
Lewis147425
Meigs126722
Jackson125634
Stewart124025
Clay107130
Houston103632
Perry103527
Moore94516
Van Buren79720
Pickett74623
Hancock49712

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