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Helen Keller Hospital prepares for possible shipment of coronavirus vaccine

The state also opened up who is eligible on Monday by moving to Phase 1C of its allocation plan. 

Posted: Mar 22, 2021 5:42 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2021 8:13 PM

Helen Keller Hospital is preparing for a new shipment of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine this week.

Kyle Buchanan, the president of Helen Keller Hospital, said they still have about 2,000 people on the waiting list for those 65 and up, and they only expect that number to grow with group 1C, which is now eligible for vaccinations.

"The youngest age in these new categories is 16, so we are anxiously awaiting a new shipment. We think it will be here within days," said Buchanan.

Under Phase 1C, people 55 and up and people 16 and older with underlying health conditions can get the vaccine. Helen Keller Hospital said it's trusting that people who are eligible will sign up.

"We want people who suffer from these ailments, so there is no card to say you're a smoker or a cancer patient, so we are dependent on our community to be transparent about it and we have a lot of faith that won't be an issue," said Buchanan.

Since the hospital hasn't had any new vaccines since January, they've had several people on their list get the vaccine at other places. They encourage people to get on other waiting lists.

"We've been able to reduce that list some by combing through it periodically to see if individuals who were initially listed and signed up have indeed received their first dose somewhere, and if they have, then we can move onto the next person," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said more vaccines are coming to the Shoals area, but the fight against the virus isn't over.

"We're cautiously optimistic. We still have so many that haven't been able to get the vaccine. We do have a transmission rate that is far less than what we had in January but still considerable, so cautious is the term when we think about the future," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said if they do get a vaccine shipment this week, they will start scheduling appointments and set up a vaccine clinic.

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