Huntsville Hospital CEO explains coronavirus vaccine preparations at hospital

He said they have enough freezer capacity for 30,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Posted: Nov 11, 2020 7:27 PM

Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers talked to WAAY 31 about coronavirus vaccinations and how the hospital system is preparing to potentially be the primary distributor for the vaccine in North Alabama.

Pfizer is expected to request emergency authorization for its vaccine after announcing that data so far shows it's more than 90 percent effective against the virus.

Spillers said he thinks they could start receiving doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to store in freezers at the hospitals in the next month or so, and he said they will be ready to distribute it when they can do so.

"We have enough refrigeration, freezer capacity to store those vaccines. I think it's roughly 30,000 doses or so that we could store here,' he said.

Spillers explained the hospital might be the only storage site in North Alabama for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer's vaccine would have to be stored at negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit, and he said being able to distribute the vaccine as soon as emergency authorization by the FDA comes down is important.

"We hope to be a distribution site and store those, so that when they're ready to distribute they would be available locally," he said.

The vaccine will first be made available to health care workers and then the most vulnerable population, as the vaccine plan released by the Alabama Department of Public Health outlines.

"You have to take two shots so it requires a booster shot I believe 21 days after the first shot," he said.

Spillers said he thinks it could take some time to vaccinate everyone.

"30,000 seems like a big number but you've got 350,000 people in Madison County, so a long way to go to vaccinate Madison County.

"We will need to replenish that stock on a pretty regular basis if we're going to have enough to vaccinate people here in North Alabama," he said.

Spillers said the hospital currently has about 120 employees out because they have coronavirus or they've been exposed to the virus and are in quarantine.

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