Pharmacies, clinics prepare for Alabama's vaccine eligibility expansion

Vaccine eligibility will extend to all adults 75 and older as well as more first responders starting on January 18.

Posted: Jan 8, 2021 11:42 PM

Near the end of their business day on Friday, things finally started to slow down for Payless Pharmacy in Decatur.

Another busy week of issuing vaccines to the medical community was close to being in the books. But Friday brought with it a new wrinkle: the Alabama Department of Public health informed them that they would be among the first sites in the state to start offering the coronavirus vaccine during the soft rollout of the 1B group.

The consultation room at Payless Pharmacy in Decatur now serves as the vaccination room for the Moderna vaccine. The freezer in the corner will soon house shipments of the Pfizer vaccine as well. The consultation room at Payless Pharmacy in Decatur now serves as the vaccination room for the Moderna vaccine. The freezer in the corner will soon house shipments of the Pfizer vaccine as well.

That includes adults 75 and older as well as more first responders.

"We're going to try to ramp up to get more vaccines than what we've been doing recently every day. That's what we're in the process of: getting more vaccinators and servicing the need of this community," said Chris Matthews, a pharmacist at Payless Pharmacy.

Matthews said as of now, they are issuing between 40-50 vaccines each day. He said they hope to roughly double that amount when the state expands the eligibility. 

"When this happens, we'll be doing close to 100 a day and we've talked about clinics and other things, whatever we need to do to get this ball rolling with this pandemic to make it stop," Matthews said.

In addition to planning for the physical space to administer the vaccinations, Payless Pharmacy is also working to acquire a digital data logger for one of its freezers. It sends back data instantly to the state about how cold the freezer is at any given time.

Once they have that in house, it will allow them to start receiving shipments of the Pfizer vaccine. Matthews said he expects it to arrive soon, potentially this coming week.

The Decatur pharmacy isn't the only non-hospital gearing up for the vaccine expansion. Mainstreet Family Care in Arab will also be among the first wave. Spokesperson Betsy Stewart said those wanting to get vaccinated need to sign up that day and can do so two hours before the clinic opens. 

She said it's important for prospective recipients and their children to familiarize themselves with the process ahead of time.

"So, we want people to know what to expect and understand that registration process so that it is as smooth and easy experience and that we can get as many people vaccinated as possible," Stewart said.

She added that even those who are not eligible to register just yet should fill out their interest form online.

"So, if they go to mainstreetfamilycare.com, under the COVID-19 vaccine page, there is an interest form. You can fill that out and as criteria continues to expand, we will email those patients and alert them to let them know they are now eligible," Stewart said.

"And also, if there are extra doses one day, perchance if we don't have the full 10 or 20 people registered, we will start going ahead and pulling people from that list who are in that next eligible category to come in and get that vaccine."

Similarly, Matthews said anyone can register on their website, pharmacy-decatur.com, an fill out a questionnaire, which will determine in which group someone belongs.

Other facilities, like the Center for Elder Care in Huntsville, are working to add their names to the list of sites that can administer the vaccine.

CEC founder Dr. Zaheer Khan said they submitted their paperwork on Friday to start getting the Moderna vaccine for their more than 2,700 patients. He said over the past month, they've been getting about 20-40 calls each day from those wanting to know when they will be able to become vaccinated.

"We know their history, we know their allergies and we know their families. So, for us it's better and being a geriatrician, I thought it's my obligation and responsibility to give these vaccines," Khan said.

As Payless Pharmacies was preparing to close for the day on Friday, Matthews noted that they are excited to get to the next phase of vaccinations, since that means taking one more step towards ending the pandemic. 

"Everybody's urgently wanting to get this and I get it. We all get it. We all want to help as many people as we can, but we have to do it in the right way," Matthews said.

Huntsville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 72°
Fayetteville
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 71°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 72°
Scottsboro
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 71°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

 

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 856428

Reported Deaths: 12305
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby963281628
Davidson89609941
Knox51090636
Hamilton44530496
Rutherford43174437
Williamson28104217
Sumner24122349
Montgomery20392227
Wilson18902236
Out of TN1823699
Sullivan16916298
Unassigned16906134
Blount15551196
Bradley15096151
Washington14681245
Maury13535172
Sevier13441175
Putnam11435175
Madison11245241
Robertson9785132
Anderson8792171
Hamblen8631173
Greene7924156
Tipton7388104
Coffee6922122
Dickson6850113
Cumberland6762133
Carter6660158
Gibson6535146
McMinn653498
Bedford6521128
Roane6317105
Jefferson6242125
Loudon615869
Hawkins6155107
Lawrence598189
Monroe587096
Warren555081
Dyer5440106
Franklin516390
Fayette511677
Cheatham457356
Obion454896
Cocke452299
Lincoln436763
Rhea435775
Marshall420258
Campbell417563
Weakley415665
Giles4009100
Henderson380276
White367770
Carroll363283
Macon363078
Hardin358868
Hardeman352864
Henry320276
Lauderdale320244
Claiborne318973
Scott314945
Marion312847
Overton302461
Wayne296834
Hickman284746
McNairy284054
DeKalb280654
Smith278739
Haywood271562
Grainger263550
Morgan251239
Trousdale250522
Fentress242647
Johnson241739
Bledsoe215611
Chester215451
Polk208524
Unicoi204549
Crockett203549
Cannon192631
Union191634
Humphreys181128
Grundy179534
Sequatchie171629
Lake170626
Benton167040
Decatur159239
Lewis158326
Meigs139025
Stewart132828
Jackson132336
Clay110330
Houston109733
Perry107128
Moore101417
Van Buren85323
Pickett75924
Hancock59312

Community Events