Southeast Health becomes first hospital to give COVID-19 vaccine in Alabama

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Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Southeast Health officially became the first Alabama hospital to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to its workers Tuesday morning. 

The hospital gave its first two doses to Dr. Walter Doty IV, medical director of the Southeast Health Critical Care Unit, and Dr. Ravi Nallamothu, medical director of Southeast Health Hospitalist Program. 

According to Doty, healthcare workers are ecstatic about the new vaccine. 

“I think everyone’s really excited,” he said. “I think everyone is ready for this. It’s a day, really, we’ve been waiting for a long time.”

The hospital received a total of 1,950 doses of vaccine Monday morning, which is being used to help inoculate healthcare workers in close contact with COVID-19. 

Doty said he’s done the research necessary on the vaccine since it was developed so quickly and has concluded that it’s worth the small risk. 

“Certainly, I’ve looked through all the Phase 3 data and sort of looked at it, and (the) side effect profile is very low, and it seems very effective,” he said. 

With some still having doubts about the vaccine, Doty said people need to get their information from reputable scientific sources and look what needs to be done to help safeguard public health. 

“This is not, shouldn’t be a political matter,” he said. “This is a science and a public health issue. We’re trying to save as many people as we can, and I understand the uncertainty, but at the same time, we’ve got to do something. This is our best shot at a way out of this.” 

Doty said people will still need to follow preventative measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while the vaccine is limited, but for the first time, it seems this pandemic is coming to an end. 

“I think this is the first day where you can kind of see that may be the tide is starting to turn here, at least as far as a way to not just treat this disease cause gosh, we’ve been doing a ton of that but actually prevent to where it doesn’t happen in the first place,” he said. 

In total, 40,950 doses of the vaccine will be distributed across Alabama. The workers that were vaccinated Tuesday are now scheduled to have their second dose in at least three weeks.

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