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/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 57°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 58°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 53°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 50°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 822085

Reported Deaths: 12001
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby914971575
Davidson86563918
Knox48960619
Hamilton42811480
Rutherford41428415
Williamson26942213
Sumner22909338
Montgomery18780223
Out of TN17852101
Wilson17747223
Unassigned16441132
Sullivan15781283
Blount14839194
Bradley14284147
Washington13850240
Sevier12986174
Maury12901166
Putnam11072173
Madison10628240
Robertson9486127
Anderson8539171
Hamblen8409169
Greene7645151
Tipton7171104
Coffee6782121
Dickson6643108
Cumberland6461127
Gibson6355144
Bedford6350126
Carter6332156
McMinn625595
Roane6124101
Jefferson6008121
Loudon595869
Lawrence573186
Hawkins5682105
Monroe564395
Warren549481
Dyer5340104
Franklin504987
Fayette484578
Obion447196
Cocke439598
Cheatham436551
Rhea428075
Lincoln427963
Marshall407358
Campbell405462
Weakley398761
Giles391298
Henderson368375
Carroll355582
Macon354375
White351468
Hardin346166
Hardeman345063
Lauderdale312744
Henry309775
Marion307246
Scott303145
Claiborne302373
Overton294360
Wayne294134
Hickman278345
McNairy275354
DeKalb273953
Smith271737
Haywood267660
Grainger255449
Trousdale247822
Morgan242839
Fentress236346
Johnson226738
Chester208651
Bledsoe208211
Crockett199848
Polk196024
Unicoi191149
Cannon187531
Union184034
Grundy176431
Lake169526
Humphreys168721
Sequatchie165228
Benton160940
Decatur156438
Lewis154826
Meigs132123
Stewart129328
Jackson129235
Clay108331
Houston107333
Perry105628
Moore99217
Van Buren82621
Pickett75524
Hancock53612

Community Events