The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Alabama

Posted on 04/22/21 by Andrew Soergel, Andy Markowitz, Catherine Maddux

En español | Who can get vaccinated now?         

  • Alabamians 16 and older
Virus Outbreak Alabama Vaccine

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: Select CVS, Sam’s Club, Walmart and Winn-Dixie stores 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.
  • Mobile clinics: The Alabama National Guard, working with state and local health and emergency-management agencies, is operating mobile vaccination sites for rural and underserved communities in 24 counties. The remainder of the scheduled clinics are for second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Follow the link for dates and locations.
  • Mass vaccination sites: A large-scale drive-through clinic operates weekdays at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport; register for appointments with the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency. Regional mass clinics elsewhere in the state offered first doses at one- and two-day events in late March and early April and will provide second doses between April 17 and 23. A federally-sponsored mass vaccination site in Bessemer is open at  Watermark Place. To schedule an appointment, individuals can visit myturn.timetap.com or call 205-858-2221.
  • A federally backed online tool called VaccineFinder lets you search for vaccination sites by zip code, with links to appointments. 
  • Veterans Affairs facilities are vaccinating veterans, spouses and veteran caregivers. Those enrolled in the VA health care system get priority; additional appointments will go to others who are eligible based on their age, health problems and other factors that increase their COVID-19 risk. Sign up with VA to get updates on vaccine availability and to be notified when you can make an appointment.
  • Vaccine supplies remain limited in many areas. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be hard to get, as available time slots may be booked quickly, and you might be put on a waiting list. You can sign up at multiple sites to increase your chances of getting an appointment, but once you have confirmed a slot at one site, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule with any other provider so that those slots 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 prioritized because of an underlying medical condition or based on your work, you may need a note from your doctor, a pay stub or badge, or some other form of proof. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment. 

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 COVID-19 vaccines at free on-site clinics. to administer COVID-19 vaccines via free on-site clinics. Apart from a very small number of outstanding clinics, the program is complete.

To ensure long-term care facilities still have access to COVID-19 vaccines — for new residents or staff, or for residents and staff who were initially hesitant to receive the shots — the federal government is continuing to allocate vaccines to pharmacies partnered with long-term care facilities.

Which 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, but distribution of that vaccine has been paused. 

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot. Visit the CDC's COVID-19 vaccines page for more information.

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.

What should I do with my vaccine card?

You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.

You may need your vaccine card for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. If you lose your card or did not receive one, contact your vaccine provider or your local health department to get a copy.

When will kids be able to get vaccinated? 

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older, while the Moderna vaccine is authorized for those 18 and older. Pfizer has asked federal officials to consider expanding eligibility for its vaccine to those as young as 12, and both companies are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he expects high school students will be able to get a vaccine by this fall and that “kids of any age” will likely be eligible by early next year. 

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?

Yes. Experts are still learning about how vaccines affect the spread of COVID-19, so the CDC still recommends taking precautions while in public — including wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Scientists are also studying the effectiveness of the vaccines against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus.

It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and the second dose of the two-dose shots. After that, fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, the CDC says. They can also gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless any of them are at a high risk for severe COVID-19.

This guide, published Jan. 15, was updated April 22 with additional information about the opening of a federally-backed vaccination site.

gray divider line

Also of Interest

This story is provided by AARP Alabama. Visit the AARP Alabama page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

More from AARP in Montgomery

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »


Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today

JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR

  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Montgomery
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner
JOIN NOW