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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – After saying they were going to cancel their COVID-19 vaccination clinic Monday due to inclement weather, Huntsville Hospital opened the John Hunt Park vaccination site.

400 people ended up getting shots, but they weren’t the people originally signed up to get vaccinated.

The weather is a constantly evolving situation and hospital officials say they took advantage of a break in severe weather to open their clinic. But the decision came after they announced to News 19 they would be closed.

Around noon Monday while our reporter was explaining to viewers that the clinic wouldn’t be open – hospital staff began opening the clinic.

“As we got to work this morning and the roads were pretty clear, with vaccines you want to get them in peoples’ arm. So we didn’t want to waste any time especially a full day when we could work three or four hours,” said Tracy Doughty,  Huntsville Hospital Senior Vice President Tracy Doughy.

Sunday, hospital staff rescheduled all their Monday appointments to Wednesday. HHHS officials made the decision to contact Huntsville City, Madison City, and Madison County Schools to see if people could come by and get vaccinated without an appointment.

“Today we had to get a group of folks that could get here quickly and be mobilized quickly there’s no way we could quickly call 500 people. So, we reached out to the school systems and the city to send their essential workers here. We did about 400 people today roughly,” Doughty said.

News 19 contacted Huntsville Hospital around 1:15 p.m. to get information about the clinic operations after we discovered it was open. No one from Huntsville Hospital responded to our inquiry until almost 5 p.m.

News 19 called the hospital’s media line multiple times throughout the day. A reporter had to go to the vaccination site and ask to speak with Doughty before we could get any clarity.

From 1:00 to 5:00 News 19 talked to a number of people who received vaccines. We’re not sure if everyone we spoke with were school or city employees. At that time, we did not know who the hospital was trying to vaccinate.

A handful of people told us they heard that people could come to John Hunt Park without an appointment to get a shot.

“We heard that the weather prevented some people from getting vaccine. So, they had a bunch leftover to just whoever could get one, so we just ran over here and got one,” one person told News 19.

Another person said, “I had a buddy of mine call me and tell me that there was some cancellations and from my knowledge if there is any cancellations, they have to use that dose today otherwise it goes bad so I’m here just for the chance to use that.”

A few people did tell News 19 they were educators.

Doughty says they expected everyone who showed up to be a city or school employee.

“We asked people where the work, work at the city, where you work at. Yeah, we asked people,” Doughty said. “We didn’t make them bring a check stub, I mean…”

Everyone who was scheduled to get a shot Monday was rescheduled for Wednesday. The hospital is prepared to administer 2,000 vaccines that day.

As of Monday night, the hospital plans on opening the clinic Tuesday. We received the following statement from a Huntsville Hospital official:

“Contingent on the actual weather conditions Tuesday, February 16 Huntsville Hospital may open the John Hunt Park vaccination clinic for those individuals with confirmed Tuesday appointments. Please check the Huntsville Hospital website for actual clinic open times. Only those individuals with confirmed appointment times within the open hours are asked to arrive.”

Sue Esslinger, Huntsville Hospital PR and Marketing Director

Doughty says the 400 vaccines given Monday will not impact the supply of shots doled out for future scheduled appointments.

“We’re seeing some cancellations as we move forward people are getting them other places as other things open up. I’m not sure how many Walmart and Sam’s have done,” he stated.