Grocery workers eligible for COVID-19 vaccines; Federal pharmacy program includes 9 CVS stores; vaccinated quarantine

Additional frontline workers, including grocery store employees, became eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in Alabama as of Monday, Feb. 8, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced. Workers in convenience stores that sell food are considered grocery workers, the health department said.

To facilitate the expansion to Phase 1B of the Alabama Vaccine Allocation Plan, ADPH opened an online portal that allows Alabamians to check their vaccination eligibility and make appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations at county health departments. Those appointments are booked through mid-April, health officials said Feb. 12. The portal also provides up-to-date information about drive-through and walk-in clinics being offered. The first week-long, large-scale clinics in eight cities ended Feb. 12. More than 76,000 doses were administered during those mass clinics, state health officials said.

Access ADPH’s Online Portal

Despite opening the vaccine to more than 1 million people in Alabama, the “demand for vaccine continues to greatly exceed supply,” state health officials said.

A map of vaccine provider locations is available on the vaccination provider tab on the Alabama COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Dashboard. Certain Alabama pharmacies are among the vaccine providers. Appointments can be made directly with private providers, such as pharmacies and hospitals. Check with a provider in your area using the appointment or wait list system they have in place.

Federal Retail Pharmacy Program
As of  Thursday, Feb. 11, the vaccine also is available at select chain pharmacies and independent pharmacy networks nationwide under a federal program. The independent pharmacy networks  include Good Neighbor and Health Mart pharmacies. Check your pharmacy’s website to find out if vaccine is available. Nine CVS pharmacies were added to the program Thursday, Feb. 24. The CVS locations are in Bayou La Batre, Camden, Evergreen, Greensboro, Jackson, Lanett, Moulton, Tuskegee and Union Springs. Seventy-four Walmart pharmacies in Alabama have about 200 doses available per store weekly by appointment only.  Vaccine provided through this federal public-private partnership goes directly to the partner pharmacies and is not part of Alabama’s allocation of vaccines.

>> Link to the federal program on the CDC website

Quarantine for Vaccinated Individuals
In his weekly vaccine update Feb. 19, State Health Officer Scott Harris said Alabama has issued quarantine guidance for vaccinated individuals that corresponds with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control. The state health officer determines the quarantine options for Alabama.

Alabama’s Isolation and Quarantine Timeframes

Voluntary or Mandatory Vaccination for Employees?
In a Feb. 4 article, Alabama Retail’s labor law partner, Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson poses some practical considerations for employers considering requiring employees to be vaccinated. Employers generally have a right to require vaccination, but may want to opt for a voluntary program, especially while supply is tight and much of the population is ineligible based on the state’s allocation plan.

Originally posted at 11:40 a.m. Feb. 2, 2021