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Alabama health organizations recommend Alabamians receive COVID-19 vaccines to help end pandemic

Alabama’s major health organizations are joining together to strongly recommend that Alabamians get vaccinated against COVID-19. Getting the vaccine can help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has affected the lives of nearly all Alabamians.

“Protecting the majority of people from COVID-19 by vaccinating the majority of people is of critical importance in reducing COVID-19 disease,” said Dr. Scott Harris, state health official. “COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective for men and women, regardless of age or racial and ethnic group. We strongly recommend that adults protect themselves, their family, colleagues, friends and community against serious illness and death by getting vaccinated when they are eligible. Immunization will help advance the public health vision of healthy people, healthy communities, and a healthy Alabama. “

The Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Hospital Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Alabama Pharmacy Association, the Alabama Medicaid Agency and the Alabama State Medical Association are together confident in the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

“Doctors in Alabama are well versed in patient education and how it can ease vaccine hesitation. However, public uncertainty about the COVID-19 vaccine is unprecedented. About 39% of Americans say they probably or definitely wouldn’t get a coronavirus vaccine, ”said Dr. John Meigs, president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. “Helping alleviate misunderstandings is essential to overcoming hesitation about vaccines.

“A major concern appears to be how quickly COVID-19 vaccines have been developed. The first vaccines were released to the public in less than a year, ”added Dr Meigs. “While there is an element of waiting to assess the full effectiveness of vaccines, here is what we know so far: Available vaccines are up to 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 and the majority of Side effects. are very minor. We can start to renew confidence in our healthcare system now by ending the divisive rhetoric and focusing on the science. The road to recovery is long, but it will be possible because of the people of Alabama. “

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine safety is a top priority. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines safely and with few side effects.

“As soon as individuals are eligible and the vaccine is available, we encourage all Alabamians to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “With vaccination, we protect not only ourselves, but everyone around us. These vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety surveillance in U.S. history and represent our best chance for the state and nation to return to a sense of normalcy. “

Alabama pharmacies are a trusted source playing a crucial role in the administration and distribution of COVID vaccination in our state.

“We strongly recommend that every eligible Alabamian receive one of the safe, effective and approved COVID-19 vaccines. Alabama pharmacists have had the privilege of administering thousands of vaccines to patients in every community over the past few months, ”said Louise Jones, CEO of the Alabama Pharmacy Association. “While we understand the hesitation in the face of the unknown, we have confidence in the vaccines we administer to the patients who know and trust us. Pharmacists will continue to be available to answer questions and vaccinate with confidence as the supply becomes available. Getting vaccinated is not only to protect yourself, but also to protect those around you. “

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama provide 100% coverage for COVID-19 vaccine delivery during government phased vaccine delivery. Blue Cross members with individual plans, medicare, and almost any employer health plan will be able to receive an FDA-cleared COVID-19 vaccine without having to pay any disbursements.

“Alabama can overcome this healthcare crisis if we do our part in getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Tim Vines, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. “The health and well-being of our members and communities remains our top priority. We want to make sure our members have access to COVID-19 vaccines without cost being a barrier. “

“I encourage all Alabamians, including Medicaid recipients, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible,” said Stephanie Azar, commissioner of the Alabama Medicaid Agency. “The vaccine does not cost recipients anything, and it can save lives and help slow the spread of the virus. “

By taking preventative protective measures, Alabamians can help end the pandemic in our state and across the country. In addition to getting the vaccine, continue to wear face masks, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.

For more information on vaccine eligibility, safety, and to schedule a vaccination appointment, visit ALCovidVaccine.gov. For appointments, the public can also dial 1-855-566-5333.

This article was jointly authored by the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Hospital Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, and the Alabama Medicaid Agency