MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Alabama is getting a visit from the White House’s vaccinations coordinator this week.
Dr. Bechara Choucair will meet with local public health officials, health system leaders and clinicians Thursday and Friday.
Choucair will hear about the state’s successes and challenges with vaccinations. State and health officials will discuss how they can work with the White House to increase vaccine confidence and uptake.
“We’re actually very excited to have Dr. Bechara Choucair here. he is the White House vaccine coordinator, and we’ve had many calls with him, many conversations with him over the past several months. We just want him to understand our situation here, the hesitancy we’re encountering around vaccinations,” said State Health Officer Scott Harris. “But also to help us figure out how do we deal with access to care issues. We’re still a large rural state. There are people in our state who simply can’t get vaccinated now, even though they still want to do that in spite of all the ways that we’ve tried to make that available. So we just want to impress upon him the situations that we have here and try to get whatever resources we can get for our state.”
Alabama has been seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, triggering a shortage of intensive care bed availability throughout the state.
While vaccinations have also risen, health leaders say it’s not enough, as Alabama remains among the states with the lowest vaccination rates.
The Alabama Hospital Association reported more than 2,700 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide Wednesday. The state’s previous peak was 3,087 patients on Jan. 12.
More than 19,000 positive cases have been reported over the last week, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
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