E. Alabama vaccine providers keep doling out shots despite lower demand

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - As states are rolling back COVID-19 restrictions, some vaccine providers in Alabama are seeing a decrease in demand for vaccines. Some providers in the state have decided to stop administering shots altogether, but several in East Alabama said they are not ready to close up shop yet.

Pharmacist Barbara Hardwick has made it her mission to vaccinate all of Russell County against COVID-19.

“We’re going to give vaccines until nobody else needs a vaccine,” she said.

Hardwick said they have consistently administered dozens of doses each week at Jones Drugs.

“We just hope the demand stays consistent,” Hardwick said.

But, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, not all vaccine providers have seen consistent demand. In fact, some have decided to stop administering shots.

Hardwick, though, said she has no plans to stop doling out doses.

“We are not planning on closing up shop,” she said.

Officials with the East Alabama Medical Center said they’re not closing up shop anytime soon, either, at their community vaccine clinic.

“As long as there’s a need, EAMC is going to stay in the game,” Kristine Hill, with EAMC, said.

Hill said they have seen a decrease in demand for first doses. At one point, they had hundreds of people coming in every day for their first shot, but that number has dropped recently.

“We had a week where we only added 50,” Hill said.

EAMC is making some changes to their schedule to reach a new group of people who maybe can’t make it to the clinic with the current days and times. Beginning May 24, they will be only offering appointments Monday through Wednesday 3-7 p.m. CST. They will also have Saturday availability on June 5.

“We’re trying to cast the net just a little bit wider, to try and get those numbers back up,” Hill said.

According to Hill, EAMC is willing to make adjustments to staffing or the location in order to keep vaccinating the community, even if it’s on a smaller scale.

“We’re nowhere near herd immunity in Lee County,” Hill said. “We’ve done a lot and we’ve done well compared to other counties in the state, but we’re just not there.”

EAMC officials said when that schedule changes May 24, they’ll only be offering 300 spots a day, but they told News Leader Nine they can change that number if they’re seeing a huge demand for appointments.

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