By Hannah Lester 

Have you been waiting to get a vaccine? Well, the state will officially open up vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and over on Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey announced today. 

“We’re encouraged now that eligibility is opening up to everyone who’s an adult, everyone 16 years of age and older,” said State Health Officer Scott Harris. “We believe that everyone ought to receive this vaccine. This is the way Alabama gets back to normal. It’s the way that we put all this behind us.”

Alabama has access to the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Chief Medical Advisor Mary G. McIntyre advised everyone to take whichever vaccine is offered to them, without waiting on a different version. 

“What vaccine is the best vaccine?” she asked. “The one that you can get first. I’m going to say that. So don’t wait around for a vaccine of a specific kind and manufacturer to be available. Get the vaccine you can get in the beginning, the soonest, because that’s the only way we’re going to beat this.”

There are over 700 state-supplied locations offering vaccines, Harris said. 

“There will be multiple sites in every county in the state and as we expand eligibility on Monday, we hope everyone will begin to make plans to get vaccinated as quick as possibly,” he said. 

McIntyre said the state is working with community colleges to encourage vaccinations. 

“We recognize that we need to be able to reach that younger group [16 and older] population, that, and you all know this, that believe that they’re invincible,” she said. “But it’s going to be extremely important for us to get those [people] vaccinated if we want to return to any semblance of normal.”

Mobile vaccination clinics recently kicked off, amidst Alabama tornadoes, and managed to administer 7,000 COVID-19 vaccinations so far. 

Next week the National Guard will administer shots in the following counties: Butler, Washington, Crenshaw, Monroe, Clarke, Pike, Barbour and Conecuh.

“In Alabama, we plan to use every tool in our tool kit to put an end to COVID-19 once and for all and no doubt the Alabama National Guard is a critical part of this effort,” Ivey said. “Our goal is simple, and that is to get shots off the shelf and into the arms of Alabamians.”