Helen Keller Hospital president reflects on one year since hospital received COVID-19 vaccines

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 9:29 PM CST
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SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WAFF) - A year ago today Helen Keller staff rolled up their sleeves to get the first dose of the COVID-19 ever at Helen Keller Hospital.

December 17th, 2020 was a pivotal moment at Helen Keller Hospital.

“We had individuals lined up and ready to go,” Helen Keller President, Kyle Buchanan.

It was the first day that the vaccines were rolled out there.

“We vaccinated hundreds of hospital staff that day,” said Buchanan.

For a while there was demand over supply. Barely any appointments available for those who qualified

“We were in situations to where we had to be very careful to make sure that individuals that were in line for the vaccine at our clinics qualified,” said Buchanan.

But he said that energy isn’t the same today.

“Contrasting the excitement about the vaccine a year ago to where we are today with more unfilled slots than filled slots with vaccinations is disappointing,’’ said Buchanan.

Colbert and Lauderdale County have been at a stand still of less than 45 percent of people fully vaccinated for the last few months.

Buchanan said although things look different now, we are not out of the woods

“We still have the scars to prove why we’re anxious about this holiday season. This time last year we were in the middle of a historic uptick and we were seeing between eight and 12 admissions a day following last thanksgiving. We haven’t seen that yet this year which is a very positive attribute for this holiday season but again we’re conscious about Christmas. So the most protection we can give each other this holiday season is vaccinations,” said Buchanan.

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