UAB Hospital Receives First Delivery Of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine, Vaccinations Begin Thursday

UAB Media Relations

This health professional is storing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in a freezer that can store it at -80 degrees Celsius.

UAB Hospital received its first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday morning.

The hospital was given 10,725 doses out of the entire state’s total doses of 40,950.

“It was astronomically more vaccine than we anticipated receiving,” says Dr. Sarah Nafziger, co-chair of UAB’s Emergency Management Committee. It’s “a very complex undertaking to get this up and running in 12 days.”

UAB will administer the vaccine to 7,507 hospital-based personnel, 1,609 clinical based personnel including ambulatory personnel, and 1,609 emergency medical services personnel in a seven-county region within a 40-mile radius of UAB.

The vaccinations will be by appointment only and will begin on Thursday, December 17.

“The reason we’re not rushing to administer the vaccine today is there’s a lot of logistics involved in making appointments for and administering [the] vaccine,” said Nafziger.

She said the goal is to administer the vaccine safely and correctly. “So we’re going to get everybody vaccinated. We’re going to get all these doses delivered, but we’re not going to rush it. We’d rather do it correctly than rush it and make a mistake on the front end.”

UAB will work six days a week to administer the vaccine “in a timely manner,” said Nafziger.

“This vaccine has given us a ray of hope … While we’re excited to receive these vaccine doses, these are not going to save us from the surge we’re in right now,” said Nafziger. “These vaccines are going to help us with future surges, but for now, I don’t want everyone to hear ‘oh we have a vaccine, we can go ahead and stop wearing our mask … because that’s just simply not the case right now.”

She said UAB Hospital healthcare workers, employees and staff will still be required to social distance and wear a mask.

When Will The General Public Get A Vaccine?

Nafziger said they don’t know for sure.

“The best information that I’m hearing, which, of course, is speculation, is in hopefully the spring, ” said Nafziger. “But we just don’t know the exact timeline for that.”

Editor’s Note: UAB holds WBHM’s broadcast license, but our news and business departments operate independently.

More Coronavirus Coverage

Frustration Grows With Alabama’s Slow Vaccine Rollout

Alabama has administered less than half of its COVID-19 vaccine supply. So why do state health officials say supply is the main obstacle?

Gov. Ivey Extends Mask Order Until March 5

Alabama residents must continue to wear masks in public for another six weeks.

Park Board Approves Making Legion Field A 24/7 Vaccination Site

Legion Field has been operating as a testing site for COVID-19. Now officials want to expand the operation to include coronavirus vaccinations.

UAB Hospital Ready To Vaccinate More People, Waiting On More Vaccine

Alabama's biggest hospital says it could establish a mass vaccination site this week if it had more doses.

JeffCo Commission Picks Up Where Feds Left Off, Will Pay For COVID Time Off

The Jefferson County Commission unanimously approved funding this week that will help pay county employees for time off related to COVID-19.

COVID Vaccinations Begin For People 75+ Years Old

Jefferson County residents 75 and older started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine this week.

More Coronavirus Coverage