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COVID-19 vaccine arrives at UAB Hospital

Updated: Dec. 15, 2020 at 4:58 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s a big day for UAB after almost 11,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived Tuesday morning. The hospital hopes to start vaccinating healthcare workers on Thursday.

UAB officials said employees are already excited at the prospect of getting the vaccine. You have doctors and nurses dealing with an ever increasing number of COVID patients. They are overworked, working extra shifts. They are looking at those folks in the eye dealing with their anxiety and dealing with their own stress combating the disease.

On Tuesday, FedEx dropped off UAB’s first shipment. The hospital was chosen because the vaccine has to be stored in a super cold freezer at -80 degrees Celsius.

Now, the hospital is working on scheduling thousands of people to get their shots. The Co-Director of the Emergency Committee which deals with COVID surge says workers are anxious, but she is hearing many are optimistic realizing they will be getting the vaccine soon.

“We do have community transmission. Our staff has not been spared from that. Some of them have become ill. So our hope in distributing the vaccine to our healthcare workers first is to keep them healthy and safe so they can continue to work and not take time out because of a COVID-19 infection,” Nafziger said.

The hospital is hoping to get more supplies next week. A bulk of that shipment will go to nursing home residents and workers.

The work load this week is complicated. The hospital will be scheduling thousands of people. They will start with some vaccinations on Thursday and really ramp up on Friday at two locations.

Pictures supplied by UAB show where their workers will be vaccinated on campus. Other workers from hospitals in a seven county area and 40 mile radius will go to the UAB Highland’s parking deck. People will have to stay for 15 minutes to monitor any possible allergic reactions. Dr. Nafziger said the vaccine is safe.

“The safety data on this vaccine is very reassuring. It makes me feel good when we know we are going to be administering this many doses of vaccine. I feel it’s safe to administer. I don’t have any hesitation about that,” Nafziger said.

Dr. Nafziger said everyone else should be getting the vaccine sometime in spring 2021. Meanwhile, Nafziger doesn’t want people to drop their guard and stop wearing masks or end social distancing simply because the vaccine now exists.

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