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COVID vaccine data coming in

Whether or not a booster shot will be needed for COVID-19 vaccines still remains to be seen.

According to Rick Smith, CEO of Troy Regional Medical Center, the Centers for Disease Control still doesn’t have any guidelines established for booster shots.

“The target really keeps moving on that,” Smith said. “The people that got the shots in January still have antibodies, so we know they’re good for at least six or seven months. But, we’re getting more and more data on the vaccines everyday. If you look online, the CDC doesn’t have any guidelines on boosters. I think we’ll go through the same thing we went through with flu shots. As more data came in, we discovered that you need a flu shot every year.”

Amy Minor, TRMC’s chief clinical officer, said the data coming in from hospitals indicates the vaccines are effective.

“Right now, 94 to 95 percent of the people being admitted to hospitals with COVID have had no COVID vaccination,” Minor said. “That really supports the data we’re getting.”

Smith said TRMC has stopped its COVID vaccination clinics because the demand for the vaccinations had fallen off.

“The vaccination clinics are all but over for us,” Smith said. “We’re really at the end point. We still have some vaccines if people come in for one. But, we’re not having clinics anymore. The people just aren’t there to take the vaccine.”

According to Alabama Department of Public Health Data, the number of people receiving COVID 19 vaccinations peaked in early April. Since then the number of people getting vaccinations has steadily decreased. On April 8, the peak, 45,128 doses were administered statewide. On July 5, only 2,708 vaccines were administered.

Alabama has a population of a little more than 5 million people. To date, 3,277,578 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered. In total, the state received 4.6 million doses of vaccines.

During the pandemic, there were 554,071 cases of COVID in the state. Of those cases, 426,184 were confirmed and the remaining 127,887 cases were listed as probable. In all, 11,398 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

In the last two weeks, 1,844 cases of COVID have been confirmed in the state and 71,594 tests have been administered.

Smith said there were still people in Pike County testing positive for COVID, but he said none of them were sick enough to be admitted to the hospital.