COVID-19 Vaccine

If you are looking for when you are eligible to receive a vaccine, skip to the Prioritization and Availability section of this page.

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Vaccine Update

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is aware that the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline: 1-855-566-5333 is experiencing difficulties. Staff continues working to expand vaccine scheduling capabilities at the call center. Hotline personnel have been working to schedule healthcare workers for appointments and those in the 75-plus age group, law enforcement officers, and firefighters for appointments. At present there are no more appointments available at county health departments. The call center will take your contact information and add it to a waiting list. Callers will be contacted as soon as more appointments are available. 

The demand for COVID-19 vaccine continues to exceed supply as there are more than 326,000 health care workers and nearly 350,000 people in Alabama who qualify for a vaccine because they are 75 years old and older.

COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline 1-855-566-5333

The hotline is for healthcare workers, people 75 years or older, and first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters to schedule an appointment for a free COVID-19 vaccination at local health departments. Telephone calls are answered from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week. Specific information, such as what to bring and what to wear, will be provided when appointments are made. Appointments are made first come, first serve for persons within the targeted priority groups.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline received over 1.1 million calls in the first day of being open to the public. Please do not call the appointment line if you do not qualify to schedule a vaccine at this time. Due to the overwhelming amount of calls, our target population cannot get through to schedule their appointments.

Please do not call your local hospital directly to set up appointments to receive your COVID-19 vaccine. Hospital switchboards are being overwhelmed with phone calls, which is creating an obstacle to patient care. Hospitals throughout Alabama are providing care to both COVID-19 patients as well as responding to all other medical needs of our citizens. Hospitals are working to make sure their frontline workers are vaccinated. If hospitals decide to provide additional vaccine outside their institutions, ADPH will coordinate with them to provide updated information. Updated information will be provided as other locations have vaccine available for additional groups.

Due to the massive call volume, callers to the COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline are encouraged to try their call again later if they get a busy signal. We are rapidly adding staff to assist callers to the scheduling hotline. We appreciate your patience. Additional information will be provided as more vaccine is available and new groups can schedule their COVID-19 vaccine.

If you would like general information about COVID-19, the COVID-19 Information Hotline continues to be available at 1-800-270-7268 for general questions.

Table of Contents

For provider information regarding vaccinations, visit COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Support.

For frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 vaccine, visit COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ. Also see: Myths vs. Facts.

For data on vaccination allocation and administration in Alabama, visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Dashboard.

Vaccine Status

Two vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine: The vaccine is authorized for emergency use in persons aged 16 years and older. This is a two-dose vaccine, given 21 days apart. Clinical trial data show the vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection starting seven days after the second dose. Individuals will not be considered fully protected until one to two weeks after they receive the second dose. The clinical trials revealed no major unanticipated adverse events. This vaccine arrived in Alabama on December 14.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine: This vaccine is authorized for emergency use in individuals aged 18 years and older. This is a two-dose vaccine, given 28 days apart. Clinical trial data shows the vaccine is about 94 percent effective after two doses. No serious safety concerns were found. This vaccine arrived in Alabama on December 21.

Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are also still under development. Large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for two additional COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.

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News Releases

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Planning and Distribution

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is putting everything in place to distribute and administer vaccine doses as quickly as possible, but only after vaccine safety has been reviewed and approved by a panel of top health experts. ADPH has been working to pre-position COVID-19 vaccine in several locations statewide to ensure equitable and timely distribution to federally designated critical populations.

Current federal funding will support partnerships with local health jurisdictions and tribal entities, mass vaccination clinics, vendor contracts, and staffing. ADPH has redirected some current staff to this program and is hiring additional positions to support this work.

ADPH submitted its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal of the plan is to immunize everyone who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Prioritization and Availability (As of January 18)

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) knows that many Alabamians are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to their risk group. As the supply of COVID-19 vaccine is limited at the moment, ADPH is following the guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for prioritization of risk groups.

View the Alabama COVID‐19 Vaccination Allocation Plan (Revised 01/11/21) which defines populations and the order in which they will receive vaccine in four phases. Note: This document is a draft and will be updated as additional guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is available.

Alabama has had COVID-19 vaccine in our state since December 14, 2020. As of January 4, there have been 42,810 vaccine doses administered out of our initial allocation of 226,250 doses. See our COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Dashboard which updates every Monday.cov-phase1a.jpg

Current Phase
1a - Healthcare workforce and long-term care

Alabama is currently in Phase 1a, consisting of over 326,000 healthcare workers. The week of December 28, residents of Long-Term Care began vaccination through the federal Pharmacy Partnership.

Healthcare workers in Phase 1a include, but are not limited to, emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, home healthcare personnel, physicians, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility, medical supply delivery, mortuary services, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, engineering and facilities management, administrative, billing, and volunteer personnel).

Healthcare workers can schedule an appointment with ADPH using our COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline at 1-855-566-5333.

Upcoming Groups
Phase 1b - Essential workers at highest risk for work related exposure and persons in identified age groups at risk for COVID-19 associated morbidity and mortality

On January 18, Alabama began providing COVID-19 vaccinations for people 75 years or older, first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters, statewide by appointment. Persons in these groups can schedule an appointment with ADPH using our COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline at 1-855-566-5333. ADPH is working to expand access to other groups within 1b.

Phase 1b includes persons age 75 years and older; frontline essential workers; persons working or living in congregate settings including but not limited to homeless shelters and group homes; first responders including firefighters and law enforcement.

Some counties have been able to intermittently vaccinate persons age 75 years and older once the uptake of vaccine for Phase 1a has been satisfied for a daily clinic. ADPH will continue to work with community partners to vaccinate persons in Phase 1a and, as supply allows, persons 75 years and above.

Phase 1c - Persons in identified age groups at risk for COVID-19 associated morbidity and mortality not included in Phase 1b; persons with high risk medical conditions; essential workers not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b

Once persons in Phase 1b have been administered or offered the vaccine, Alabama will move into Phase 1c. ADPH does not have a timeline on this as ability to move to the next phase is dependent on vaccine supply.

Phase 1c includes persons not identified in Phase 1a or Phase 1b, and includes persons 65-74 years of age, persons 16-64 years of age with high risk medical conditions (including cancer; chronic kidney disease; COPD; heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state; solid organ transplant; obesity BMI >30 kg/m2; sickle cell disease; smoking; type 2 diabetes; and pregnancy), and additional essential workers not identified in previous phases.

Phase 2 - All persons in age groups not previously recommended for vaccine (ages 16‐64) and general population not included in earlier phases

ADPH has no specific timetable about when members of the general public can be vaccinated. Once the vaccine becomes readily available, the public may visit vaccinefinder.org to locate a COVID-19 vaccine provider.

Continue to Practice Public Health Guidelines Before and After Vaccination

As the supply of vaccine remains limited, ADPH continues to urge the public to practice the measures needed to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Alabama residents should continue to exercise caution by minimizing travel and avoiding gatherings of people beyond their immediate household.

Even after vaccination, we recommend you continue with the other prevention measures, such as washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and limiting gatherings. Visit Prevention and Treatment for more information.

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Why Should You Get Vaccinated?

  • It's safe, simple, and free of charge.
  • It could keep you from getting COVID-19. If you still get COVID-19, it could keep you from becoming seriously ill.
  • It will help you do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of your family, your friends and your community.
  • It's an mRNA vaccine. These types of vaccines have been studied for more than two decades to evaluate their safety and effectiveness.
  • It's the first step to returning to normal.

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Vaccine Safety

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available.

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How the COVID-19 Vaccine Works

To understand how COVID-19 vaccines work, it helps to first look at how our bodies fight infection. When germs, such as viruses, invade the body, they attack and multiply. This invasion, called an infection, is what causes illness. The immune system uses several tools to fight infection. The first time the body encounters a germ, it can take several days to make and use all the germ-fighting tools needed to get over the infection. After the infection, the immune system remembers what it learned about how to protect the body against that disease. Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.

COVID-19 vaccines will help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to teach the immune system how to recognize a germ without getting sick and be ready to quickly attack the germ if we are exposed to the germ. It takes about two weeks after completing a vaccine series before your body makes an immune response to protect against infection and illness.

Most COVID-19 vaccines will require two doses spaced 21 or 28 days apart. People will need both doses to be protected. It is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection or because someone did not get both recommended vaccine doses.

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Side Effects

Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. Side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Often times, people will have symptoms like mild fever, tiredness, and body aches after getting a vaccine. These symptoms are normal and signal your body’s immune response to the vaccine to help you prevent future infections. For more information, visit What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

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Finding Credible Vaccine Information

Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, make sure the information comes from a credible, trusted source of information and is updated regularly. As you surf for vaccine information, consider guidance from these sources:

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Page last updated: January 21, 2021