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: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 363466

Reported Deaths: 4541
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby47682658
Davidson42703420
Knox18764149
Rutherford17749161
Hamilton16701152
Williamson1140080
Sumner9744137
Out of TN758152
Wilson748178
Montgomery658683
Sullivan643996
Washington6000106
Putnam591382
Maury584267
Blount549160
Madison5349110
Bradley519735
Sevier484831
Unassigned468222
Robertson377453
Tipton365938
Hamblen345560
Gibson323365
Dyer320751
Greene308272
Anderson294629
Dickson289133
Coffee281841
Bedford275630
Carter272455
Lawrence270034
Obion265950
Cumberland257236
McMinn252355
Warren240020
Roane235229
Loudon228019
Jefferson226932
Fayette225338
Hardeman224737
Weakley216937
Monroe212744
Franklin208634
Lauderdale205023
Hawkins194934
Wayne192010
Trousdale190512
Henderson185133
Macon184028
Hardin178125
White176918
Carroll174734
Marshall174420
Rhea169731
Haywood162930
Lincoln161215
Cocke160630
Cheatham158617
Overton154335
Campbell154223
Henry153619
Giles146949
Smith143819
Johnson141621
McNairy140233
Fentress121920
Hickman118219
Lake11766
Bledsoe11745
DeKalb115822
Crockett115526
Marion109819
Scott10727
Chester102520
Grainger101217
Decatur95513
Unicoi85826
Claiborne8369
Benton81314
Grundy77714
Cannon7663
Lewis76314
Morgan7306
Union7195
Humphreys7098
Jackson68410
Polk66515
Stewart59415
Houston58720
Clay55318
Sequatchie5285
Meigs48913
Perry48321
Moore3963
Pickett39013
Van Buren3672
Hancock1673

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