Helen Keller Hospital vaccinations on the rise


SHEFFIELD — Wednesday, Helen Keller Hospital released its numbers for COVID-19 vaccines administered.

Since January, the hospital said more than 13,500 vaccines have been given, although, the rate at which they were administered saw a decline as summer progressed, just as the Delta variant saw a significant increase.

April saw the highest vaccine numbers with 4,079 and the lowest at the beginning of August with only 362, however, Helen Keller Hospital President Kyle Buchanan said that number has now more than doubled.

“We’re excited to see people across The Shoals and across the entire state make the choice to get vaccinated,” Buchanan said. “We think a lot of it is due to the increased activity we’ve seen, but we think it is a positive step for us to see those increases.”

Buchanan said the increased vaccinations are encouraging given the state’s shortage of ICU beds.

“Today, we have 23 patients in our ICU and what that means for us, we are overflowing patients who will typically be in our ICU and we’re delivering ICU-level care for them elsewhere in the hospital,” Buchanan explained.

As of Thursday, there were 46 COVID-19-positive patients at Helen Keller Hospital. Of those patients, Buchanan said only five to seven percent are vaccinated with only one vaccinated patient needing ICU care.

There were five patients on ventilators, all of whom were not vaccinated. Buchanan said The Shoals remain under 40 percent fully vaccinated.

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