Updated: May 15
Updates about what's happening on Goat Hill
The Silence is Deafening on Goat Hill
In January, a few state legislators spoke up about their concerns regarding the Alabama vaccine rollout. You can find their comments with an internet search. AlabamaFreePress.com (AFP) previously reported that on Friday, January 29th, state legislators had a conference call with the Governor's office where discussion about the state vaccine plan took place. Notably added to the vaccine eligibility list that same day – Alabama state legislators. They’ve been quiet ever since. That same day, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) put out a press release with those who made the new eligibility list. State Legislators were not specifically mentioned in that press release.
Most notable is that Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth has been silent since the vaccines became available in December. In December, seniors age 65 and older were in the initial CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for vaccination in Phase 1c. In late December, the CDC changed their plan to include those age 75 and older in Phase 1b, which they should have done from the start. Only after immense public pressure did those age 65 and older move up on the Alabama eligibility list – although those age 65 to 74 are still listed in Phase 1c. Even with this step up, these seniors are competing for getting vaccine shots with so-called “essential workers” at the same time. Seniors may remember Will Ainsworth's silence when his next election rolls around.
According to CDC data, about 70% of those age 55 to 64 have at least one chronic medical condition. These include medical conditions that are on the CDC list of those people with increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19. In Alabama, those age 50 to 64, who account for over 15% of Covid-19 deaths, and who are 30 times more likely to die from the virus than those 18 to 29, are still not specifically mentioned in the Alabama vaccine plan. Maybe Alabama state legislators do not feel fighting for Alabama seniors is a priority.
Several lobbyist groups have pressured government officials for the CDC guidelines to remain the status quo. This status quo has vaccines going to young, healthy "essential workers" with little risk of severe illness or death. AFP cannot confirm whether these lobbyists are causing the Alabama state legislators' silence. Only the legislators know ... and they’re not talking.
"Goat Hill Scoop" includes opinion of the AlabamaFreePress.com