Community vaccination update

January 19, 2021

Huntsville Hospital Health System embraces the opportunity to be part of a community wide effort to vaccinate Alabama and put an end to these “very difficult times.” We’re just as tired of it as you are. We are incredibly proud of the thousands of front-line health care workers and behind the scenes health care workers, who have worked tirelessly to care for COVID-19 patients. We are so grateful for the ongoing community support and incredible teamwork that continues day after day.

With support from the City of Huntsville, we opened our Community Vaccination Clinic yesterday and are sending this note to update the community on our progress and address some key questions.

We start by thanking the Alabama Department of Public Health. Dr. Scott Harris and his colleagues have worked tirelessly to coordinate the pandemic response, keep us informed, distribute resources, and provide education. We welcome the opportunity to bring our Health System resources beside them to provide these vaccinations. Vaccination clinics are available at many health departments, and we hope many other sites are brought on-line in the near future.

We opened our waitlist to the 75-plus population a little over a week ago. There are approximately 24,000 people over 75 years old in Madison County, and we already have over 18,000 requests for the vaccine. The most experienced members of our community are embracing the opportunity to be vaccinated. As of Monday, January 18, we have scheduled approximately 2,500 people and are making phone calls every day. If you are waiting for a call, we sincerely appreciate your patience. We are adding staff to make these calls and will not stop until we contact everyone. Our vaccine clinics will stay open as long as we continue to receive vaccine and as long as there is a community need. We’ll soon be open seven days a week and be able to vaccinate over 3,000 people each week. We appreciate your patience.

Consistent with guidance from the federal government, we plan to use all the vaccine at our disposal to expedite the process and are not holding vaccine for second doses. When we call to schedule your appointment, we will schedule your first and second appointments, three weeks apart. While we anticipate continuing to receive shipments of vaccine that will keep up with demand, there is a chance that some second dose appointments will be rescheduled if we have a disruption in our shipments. Our experts suggest that the booster shot is still effective if delayed, and we believe the risk of delaying some of the second appointments is worth the benefit of moving faster.

We anticipate strong demand for the vaccine as eligibility is expanded and we welcome the other vaccination sites that will come on board in the coming weeks. While we cannot promise you will not have to wait for an appointment, we can promise that we’ll continue vaccinating until the job is done. Thanks again for your support.