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ARAB, Ala.- MainStreet Family Care in Arab has adjusted its protocol after a recent News 19 report.

In it earlier this week, employees said the clinic had been giving the COVID-19 vaccine to patients who aren’t eligible under the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Phase 1A and 1B vaccine rollout plan.

They explained to News 19 that it is because eligible patients interested in getting it, were not able to make it to the clinic before the doses expired and they did not want to waste any of the vaccine.

But now, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Betsy Stewart said they are not doing that anymore because interest and confidence in the coronavirus vaccine are up. 

“We have had patients who being very hateful about wait times, or about not wanting to register online and demanding to be seen, to the point where we did have one lunge across the desk at one of our staff members,” said Stewart.

However, Stewart said it was not always that way. 

“In the beginning, it was definitely slow to start. Every other day or so we were about two or three doses short,” said Stewart.

ADPH’s Judy Smith  said that it has been a problem for many clinics.

“This vaccine is precious, don’t waste a dose. That goes on to some extent everywhere and once again it speaks to situations where there is a smaller uptake that there’s going to be more potential for wasteage and before they waste a dose, we want them to give it to whoever qualifies and needs that dose,” explained Smith.

Stewart told News 19 that if there are any leftover doses, they will call their other clinics to see if any of the patients there can come to Arab to get the vaccine before it expires.

“Every person who receives a COVID-19 shot is deserving of one. And everyone will receive one as determined. We are all just really trying to make sure no doses are getting unused or sitting on the shelf,” added Stewart.

As vaccine becomes available, she asks for patients to be patient with MainStreet Family Care staff.

“We know this is a frustrating time for everyone. We just want to ask to please respect these healthcare heroes. They are working as hard as they can, they are following policy as much as they can,” said Stewart.

She told News 19 that MainStreet Family Care will begin administering second doses for those who have already gotten their first on Monday.

Patients getting the second dose must still register online before 10 a.m. by selecting follow-up here.

Stewart said patients must get the second dose at the same clinic where they received their first dose.