Family looking for answers after they say a 91-year-old cancer patient doesn’t get COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: Jan. 19, 2021 at 10:50 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A cancer patient who had an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine showed up on time, to be told they were out.

Lisa Gruner took her 91-year-old mother Cade Smith to the Madison County Health Department on Monday for her COVID-19 vaccine after Smith spent the weekend in the hospital.

“She got really dehydrated and sick from the chemo and stuff,” Gruner said. “We got out of the hospital and got to the health department at 3:05 for our 3:15 p.m. appointment and the parking lot was empty. They had given all the vaccines away for the day.”

Gruner said that’s when health officials told her they would be in contact.

“They took our name and number and put it on a list and said as soon as we get more we will call you,” she said.

Our crews took that concern to Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“It is my understanding that they honored the appointments that were there yesterday,” Dr. Landers said. “They also accepted people that were in the eligible group and persons that presented if we had a couple of extra doses coming out of the vials.”

Dr. Landers said they have a certain number of vaccines available at the location on a given day.

“Then depending on the number of appointments versus the number of doses we will accept a limited number of walk in patients or a limited number on standby,” Dr. Landers said.

She also said there are times when they can get an extra dose out of each vial. When this happens counties have a standby list of people who can come to the health department immediately for the vaccine so it doesn’t go to waste.

Now these people can be younger than 75 years old, but they fall into a high risk category.

Dr. Landers said they’ve had several people show up at the wrong place for their vaccinations. Healthcare workers, first responders, fire, police, and people 75-years-old and up are eligible right now.

Dr. Landers also said if you qualify for a high risk category you can be added to the standby list. For more information, contact your local health department.

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