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Hospital says it will be weeks before they can handle expanded eligibility for vaccine

MADISON – Even though the state is expanding eligibility for people who can receive the COVID vaccine, officials with Huntsville Health Systems, which operates Madison Hospital, say it will actually be weeks before they are prepared to handle the increased demand.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris announced Friday that persons 65 to 74 years of age, as well as those persons who are classified as essential workers in federal category 1b (click here for related story), will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday, February 8. However, with the high demand for it in Madison County and an uncertain supply of vaccine, people in these additional groups should not anticipate being vaccinated for several weeks, hospital officials said.

The additional priority groups will add over 1 million people that are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Alabama. While just under 2 million people will qualify to receive the vaccine, the state continues to only receive around 100,000 doses each week.

“Huntsville Hospital is continuing to vaccinate Madison County residents who are 75 and older. As of January 29, more than 8,000 persons (requiring 16,000 doses) remain to be vaccinated in this critical category. When this group is completed in the weeks ahead, vaccination of persons 65-74 and essential workers can begin,” a statement from Huntsville Hospital said. “There are more than 35,000 people in the 65-74 population of Madison County. It is difficult to estimate the number of people classified as essential workers, which according to guidelines includes teachers and education staff, firefighters, police, daycare workers, food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit and grocery store workers.”

The hospital said when they have an adequate supply of vaccine available in the coming weeks, their goal will be to give a thousand doses per day—500 first doses and 500 second doses.

Persons in these expanded groups may register online at huntsvillehospital.org to be added to the waiting list for vaccination. It does not make an appointment. You will be called to schedule an appointment for the Community Vaccination Clinic at John Hunt Park. Do not call the hospital or show up at the clinic without an appointment.

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