Athens Limestone Hospital employees receive coronavirus vaccinations

In Limestone County, health care workers rolled up their sleeves.

Posted: Dec 15, 2020 6:01 PM
Updated: Dec 15, 2020 7:28 PM

Tuesday was the day thousands of people have been anticipating since the pandemic began.

Across the country, a mass vaccination effort is underway. North Alabama was no exception. In Limestone County, health care workers rolled up their sleeves.

Since March, Dr. Hanserd has been waiting for this moment.

"There's a lot of sense of relief," Hanserd said.

He received the first dose of Pfizer's vaccine Tuesday at Athens Limestone Hospital. Nearly 2,000 of the doses were shipped to the hospital this week.

"I know we have several hard months ahead of here at the hospital to take care of people with COVID, but I will say that after I got the vaccine, I felt very relieved," Hanserd said.

Those directly treating coronavirus patients will receive the vaccine first. Hanserd has been in charge of the coronavirus response team. He said he is hopeful this will help relieve the staffing issues they have been experiencing.

"We'll end up working for just several, several weeks on end, and with as many patients as we're seeing, that's just not something that is good for anybody," Hanserd said.

Athens Limestone Hospital is one of the first hospitals to receive a shipment of vaccines. That is because it has freezer capability.

The Chief Nursing Officer and Interim Hospital President Traci Collins said more than 50% of their employees said they would get vaccinated.

"Seeing that they're willing to get it and be the first one in line, it gives me comfort and it lets me know, hey, these guys are super smart, they study science, they study research and if they think it's safe for them, they are not going to do anything to jeopardize themselves that would be detrimental to them, so I honestly trust them with my life," Collins said.

For Hanserd, he said while this has been an expedited process, he trusts the science.

"Once it gets FDA approval, having it in hospitals in two days, and then, having it in people's arms 24 hours after that, that's quite the process," Hanserd said. "I can't take away from any of that. I mean, there are so many people that are working on this that aren't me, that aren't frontline health care workers, and we're thankful for all those people."

Some of the vaccine trials were done across from the hospital. Dr. Hanserd called those who participated, the real heroes.

In the next few days, Athens Limestone Hospital will set up a mobile unit to administer the vaccines to Decatur-Morgan and Helen Keller employees.

All of these hospitals are part of the Huntsville Hospital System.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 488973

Reported Deaths: 9660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson703321342
Mobile35725716
Madison32088437
Tuscaloosa23913404
Montgomery22369481
Shelby21714209
Baldwin19554263
Lee14827147
Morgan13529243
Etowah13091309
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Marshall11197202
Houston10019255
Limestone9303130
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Cullman8856176
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Lauderdale8541209
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Walker6466240
Jackson6450101
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Colbert5973118
Coffee522299
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Russell400530
Franklin396575
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Chilton380096
Escambia375970
Tallapoosa3533138
Clarke342348
Dallas3385139
Chambers3382102
Pike292471
Lawrence280685
Marion277492
Winston244563
Marengo243454
Bibb243259
Geneva238168
Pickens223453
Barbour208450
Hale208064
Fayette198755
Butler194865
Henry181741
Cherokee175737
Monroe165538
Randolph161240
Washington155832
Crenshaw143052
Clay142554
Macon140344
Cleburne136139
Lamar130632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120525
Bullock116033
Conecuh106423
Perry104927
Sumter98231
Greene86732
Coosa86323
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Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 767315

Reported Deaths: 11198
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby863831451
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Knox45139569
Hamilton39899450
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Cheatham385143
Campbell377458
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Carroll346580
Hardeman337563
Macon334873
White333765
Hardin329562
Lauderdale308842
Henry298274
Marion289144
Wayne286330
Scott284842
Overton283257
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Haywood264159
McNairy264151
Hickman262339
DeKalb261547
Smith252236
Grainger240446
Trousdale237722
Fentress228244
Morgan228236
Johnson214337
Chester200446
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Humphreys151121
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Houston102030
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