Vaccinations in Madison County will slow down after this week. Huntsville Hospital's Vice President of Operations, Tracy Doughty, said they were able to ramp up efforts this week after getting an additional 5,000 doses from the state. He said it doesn't look like they'll be getting the additional doses next week as well.
Doughty said they're already halfway through the additional doses they received. On Wednesday, they gave over 1,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and work their way up to administering 2,000 doses on Friday.
Huntsville Hospital is one of eight mass vaccine locations across the state that received the additional doses this week. Doughty said the hospital is working closely with the state to get its allocated number of doses.
Doughty said as of Wednesday, they won't be getting the additional 5,000 doses every week and will go back to administering 1,000 doses each day starting Saturday.
“Friday will be the only day we’re doing 2,000 shots. After Friday, we’ll go back to our 500 new vaccines and 500 repeat vaccines. So, this week Monday through Friday we had an additional thousand doses, and it was for this week only," he said.
Doughty said they'll gladly give out additional doses of the vaccine if the state is able to provide them. He noted that even though more people are starting to get the vaccine, it doesn't mean the fight against the coronavirus is over just yet.
We know the vaccines are effective against the COVID-19 strain we've seen for the past year, but research shows that some aren't as effective against the new variants.
Doughty said this is why we all need to continue practicing CDC guidelines.
“We want everyone to continue to wear their mask, separate, sanitize, stay away from large gatherings if you can, be safe, be cognitive of what you are doing. The vaccines are just one leg in the stool, the other leg is us using our common sense to do those things we’ve been doing.”
Doughty said he believes we're in the home stretch of the pandemic, and added hospitalizations are down in Madison County.
The numbers of COVID-19 cases at Huntsville HOspital dropped after the Holiday peak. They're down about half of the 500 cases we saw last month.
Doughty said they will continue to give their COVID patients and non-COVID patients the best care they can, but they're also making sure to take care of their employees.
We've heard countless times that taking care of COVID patients day in, and day out, is not only physically draining, but also mentally and emotionally.
Doughty said the hospital's priorities are getting the vaccine out to as many people as they can, taking good care of all their patients, and making sure they take care of their employee's mental health as well.
"It’s been a long haul for a lot of our employees, and mental health is an issue we strongly think about, so we’ve got several programs in the hospital employees can interact with to take care of their mental health and fatigue. I want to take care of patients, but also employees."
He said they're dedicated to helping everyone in the community.