Madison County area health officials say they’re racing to vaccinate as many people as possible


HUNTSVILLE, Ala – There are only 32 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Madison County. Two of there are in the ICU and one is on a ventilator.

Crestwood Hospital CEO Pam Hudson says transmission rates also appear to be about 5 percent and zero for people who are asymptomatic. She credits this to people wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and sanitizing.

This welcomed trend comes as COVID-19 vaccine efforts continue.

This week phase 1C opened, allowing people 55 and over, those with certain medical conditions and more essential employees to schedule an appointment. But there’s a problem: It could still take weeks to get a vaccine.

22% of people 16 and older in Madison County have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier this week, News 19 was told in Madison County alone, tens of thousands of people are on the waiting list for a shot through Huntsville Hospital.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris expects demand to exceed supply for a while. But local pharmacies, CVS, Walmart and Kroger are also providing COVID-19 vaccines.

Crestwood Hospital CEO Dr. Pam Hudson says it’s important people who want a vaccine get one sooner rather than later. She recommends taking this approach while trying to schedule an appointment.

“Sign up with as many places as you can. I know not all the vaccine entities will be happy to hear that, but it’s important that you get a vaccine in your arm as soon as possible. We know that people are, folks that have been persistent and have signed up in multiple places may have gotten the vaccine,” Hudson said.

As more people work to try to get a vaccine, ADPH is releasing demographic information about who is getting a vaccine. 15 percent of Black Alabama residents have received a shot according to ADPH. This is about twice the national average.

But Black Alabamians have been gravely and disproportionately effected by the pandemic according to the state health department. News 19 asked Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith what can be done to make sure more Black Madison County residents have access to the vaccine.

“The logistical chain it takes to get a number of people to the appointment, and or the appointment set up, or to get in line for vaccination has become much like when this first happened with the testing. And until we get enough vaccinations that allows us, what I believe should happen is preselect, have an implementation process that is selective to those individuals,” Keith said.

HEMSI spokesman Don Webster did say anyone can dial “2-11” for help with transportation getting to a vaccine appointment.

Regardless of whether someone has received a vaccine or not, Hudson urges everyone to continue wearing masks and social distancing.

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