Huntsville Hospital: COVID vaccinations start Wednesday
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Huntsville Hospital sign
A sign located outside Huntsville Hospital on April 11, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccinations for frontline health care employees in north Alabama will start Wednesday morning and also be made available to physicians’ offices and emergency medical responders, a Huntsville Hospital spokesman said Monday.

The hospital is expecting 6,825 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to arrive Tuesday, hospital Senior Vice President Tracy Doughty said.

Another dose will be required in 21 days for full inoculation. The first-round doses are coming from the state, which is also holding the follow-up doses until they are needed. According to other AL.com reporting, half of the first doses will be allocated to hospital health care workers, 15 percent for EMS workers, 15 percent for physician offices, and 20 percent for other hospital staff.

Doughty briefed reporters late Monday on Huntsville’s plan. As a example of early vaccinations, Doughty cited the staff at the hospital’s Fever and Flu Clinic, which has been testing people for the virus since the outbreak began. Other key staff positions will be rotated for vaccination, he said, so that not all respiratory therapists get the vaccine on the same night in case of side effects.

“Our goal is to have it done in a two-week timeframe,” Doughty said.

Based on a survey of 1,000 employees, Doughty said he expects 50-55 percent of eligible staff to take the vaccine in the first round, another 25-30 percent during the second round and more as time goes by.

Doughty said he does not know when the next shipment will arrive. “We may get some by the end of the year, first of next year,” he said.

Doughty said hospital leadership has been planning the vaccine rollout. That planning has gotten down to specifics such as as where to walk while approaching a vaccination site, the number of vaccination stations at each site and where to sit for the required 30-minute wait before leaving.

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