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The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Alabama

En español | Who can get vaccinated now?         

  • Alabamians 65 and older
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Frontline health care workers
  • People living and working in group settings such as homeless shelters and group homes
Virus Outbreak Alabama Vaccine
A health care worker receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield.
(Dan Busey /The TimesDaily via AP)

Where can I get vaccinated?

  • County health departments and medical facilities such as community health centers, hospitals, independent pharmacies and urgent care clinics. Check the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Vaccine Clinic Dashboard to find locations near you. You can register for appointments at county clinics through the state’s scheduling portal. Health care centers and hospitals may have their own sign-up sites; these are listed in the dashboard with contact information and registration links.
  • Retail pharmacies: About 90 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies across the state and CVS stores in nine locations are administering vaccines to eligible Alabamians. Follow the links to find participating stores and check in available appointments. You’ll need to create an account with your name and email to get a vaccine through Walmart or create a guest account to go through Sam’s Club.
  • Drive-through and walk-in clinics: The public health department is holding a series of one-day vaccination clinics across the state that do not require appointments. Go to the health department’s clinic dashboard or COVID-19 provider table and click on the tab “ADPH Drive Thru & Walk In Clinics” to find locations, dates and additional information.
  • Vaccine supplies are limited everywhere and available only to those now eligible under each state’s phased plan. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be very hard to get, as available time slots are booked quickly, and you may experience long wait times on the phone. If a time slot is not available, you may be put on the site’s waiting list. Some people are signing up at multiple sites to increase chances of getting an appointment. Once you have a confirmed appointment, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule or confirm another with any other provider so that vaccine appointments stay open for others.

For more information, visit the public health department’s vaccine website or call 855-566-5333.

AARP recommends that you talk to your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.

If you are eligible because of an underlying medical condition or comorbidity, you may need a note from your doctor or some other form of proof. If you are eligible based on your work, bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge or letter from your employer.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment.

Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?

Alabama partially launched Phase 1c of its vaccine allocation plan when it opened eligibility to adults 65 to 74 in February. Next in line are people 16 to 64 with underlying conditions that put them at high risk for severe cases of COVID-19, such as cancer, chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes, and critical workers in fields not covered in prior phases, including transportation, construction and utilities.

The remainder of the adult population is in Phase 2 of the state plan, which is expected to start in spring.

AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting COVID-19 vaccines because the science has shown that older people are at higher risk of death.

How are nursing home and other long-term care residents getting vaccinated? 

Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Alabama are being vaccinated through a federal program that contracted with CVS, Walgreens and Senior Care Pharmacy to administer the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines at free on-site clinics.

Nationally, almost all nursing homes, which were given first priority, have completed their vaccination clinics. Most assisted living and other long-term care facilities are conducting their final clinics. All the vaccination clinics are slated to wrap up by late March.

I’ve heard that some vaccines require a second shot.

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable.

You should get a card from your provider saying when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls.

 Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot.

Do I have to pay for the vaccination?

You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).

Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?

Yes. The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC continues to recommend preventive measures such as face masks and physical distancing.

Experts still need to learn more about the protection the vaccines provide under “real-world conditions,” the CDC says. It could take a few weeks for your body to build up immunity after the second dose and months for the population to build up collective immunity.

In addition, it’s not yet clear how effective the vaccines are against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus initially identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, although they would still provide some protection.

This guide, published Jan. 15,  was updated March 4 with new information on the federal pharmacy program providing vaccinations in long-term care facilities.

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WATCH: AARP's CEO on Fighting for Your COVID-19 Vaccination

AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins

Also of Interest

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