As the State of Alabama works to try and keep up with the demand for vaccines across the state, Huntsville Hospital will soon be part of a statewide effort to increase the number of vaccines administered next week.
On Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced that eight sites would take part in large-scale vaccinations. Participating cities include Annison, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Selma and Tuscaloosa.
Five categories of people eligible for the vaccine starting Feb. 8, per Huntsville Hospital:
- Healthcare/1A worker
- 75 or older
- 74-65 years old
- Essential worker
Each site will receive 1,000 extra doses on top of what they were previously administering.
Tracy Doughty, the senior vice president of operations for Huntsville Hospital, said they are increasing the number of nursing stations in use in order to reach that new threshold.
"We run about nine or ten nurse vaccine stations now and we'll up that to about 17 for those days next week," Doughty said.
From February 8-12, there will be 50-60 people on hand, including doctors, nurses and a pharmacist to ensure things continue to run smoothly. Doughty said it's a combined effort of both staff and volunteers.
"We had a pretty good volunteer list from the community and also our employees, who are willing to volunteer and do extra work to do it. And it was pretty easy to fill the shifts," he said.
While some locations have had challenges keeping vaccine on hand each day, like at Decatur-Morgan Hospital, Doughty said Huntsville Hospital's main campus hasn't run into that issue because they have the capability to administer the Pfizer vaccine.
He confirmed on Wednesday that the 1,000 doses that make up the expansion next week will be used to give people their first shot. Doughty added that they're goal is to equitably pull from the five categories of eligible people as they are distributing these additional vaccines.
However, while the state health department described the large-scale vaccination rollouts as "starting on February 8," Doughty said don't get your hopes up that it will last beyond next week.
"We asked that question of the state. We don't think so. We think it's just a one-time extra bonus," he said.
About 150 people will be seen each hour between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. next Monday through Friday. Doughty said that will help ensure that there's enough parking for everyone and that they can properly social distance.