On Monday, John Hunt Park will be North Alabama's large-scale coronavirus vaccine clinic. This happens the same time more frontline workers and people 65 years and older will be eligible to get the vaccine.
Starting Monday, about 2,000 people will be getting the coronavirus vaccine at John Hunt Park. The CEO of Huntsville Hospital, David Spillers, said they are up for the challenge.
"We feel comfortable we can handle that number of people," he said. "That's probably about 1,000 more than we had anticipated next week, but we're going to staff up and get those done."
Huntsville Hospital will soon be administering three shots every minute at the Jaycee Community Building.
Spillers said the increase in doses will speed up the process of getting people vaccinated.
"We're going to get more people moved up from the schedule of people that have signed up and get those people vaccinated earlier than we would have without those additional doses of the vaccine," said Spillers.
He hopes more locations will soon be able to get the vaccine so it can be accessible to more people, especially with the coronavirus variants.
As of Wednesday, no variants of the coronavirus have been reported in North Alabama, but now is not the time to start relaxing on safety measures.
Local leaders say there's one main common denominator between the three different COVID-19 variants; each are significantly more contagious than the COVID-19 we've seen this past year.
Spillers said both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will do a good job of protecting you from variants if you continue to follow CDC recommendations.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘well this vaccine, it’s only going to be 60% against this particular variant.’ There were many years where our flu shots were 60% effective, and it does a really good job of keeping the flu down. So, 60%, that’s a whole lot better than 0.60% and then you throw on top of that masking, social distancing, and sanitizing the way we’ve become accustom, we’ll still do a very good job getting control of the pandemic if people would do that.”
Spillers said he thinks some of the vaccines may end up needing a booster shot, depending on how the variants mutate. There's currently no definitive answer.
Mayor Tommy Battle encourages people to get vaccinated, regardless of the type of COVID-19 vaccine.
“We need to make sure everyone takes the vaccine. Everybody, if you take the vaccine, if you as a community take the vaccine, we’ll be able to look at this in the rearview mirror. We’ll be able to get through this and be done with it.”