DCH hospitals to reeive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Alabama News

Dr. Michelle Chester draws the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — DCH Health System has been chosen by the Alabama Department of Public Health to be one of the first facilities in Alabama to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Spokesperson Andy North says it could take one or two weeks for the hospitals to get the vaccines.  Once it arrives, workers will begin administering the shots at the new remote COVID testing facility in Tuscaloosa near DCH Hospital.

“We were selected and we knew as a referral site in west Alabama we were one of the largest facilities and most capable to handle it so we are glad to provide that service and of course it’s going to strain us even further to do it but we know we will be able to pull through,” North said.

At the testing facility, cars can drive in and out of the garages once people have been vaccinated. Kimberly Montgomery says it’s good news that vaccines will soon be administered in Tuscaloosa.  Her daughter is a DCH nurse and she worries about her and all nurses and doctors who work on the frontlines.

“I think that it’s exciting that the vaccine will be so close to home,” Montgomery said. “It’s been concerning to me but I am encouraged that a vaccine is about to be released to the public and at least finding its way to Alabama.”

The Coronavirus continues to surge at DCH Hospitals.  Right now there are 158 patients who have COVID-19 that are being treated. Thirty-two of those are in the intensive care, 14 patients are on a ventilator.  

North says workers are doing every possible to help as many patients as they can but he admits it is getting difficult.

“You know there’s no sugar-coating this, it is a really difficult situation in the hospitals right now. Numbers like this are really straining the system,” North said.

Since the new COVID-19 remote testing facility opened, North days roughly 150 people are getting tested daily.