MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Infirmary Health has begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
The first shots were given Wednesday morning at Mobile Infirmary to two doctors. Dr. Cynthia Crowder-Hicks and Dr. Coby Harrison were the first two to receive the vaccine. Dr. Crowder-Hicks is a pulmonologist and was one of the first physicians to serve on the COVID floor at Mobile Infirmary.
“We’ve had to stand not only as their medical advocate, but their emotional advocate, as their family advocate. That puts a level of emotion into your medical care that is taxing,” said Dr. Crowder-Hicks.
Dr. Harrison is an internal medicine physician and medical director for the Respiratory Evaluation program at Diagnostic and Medical Clinic.
Dr. Harrison was the first to get the vaccine at Mobile Infirmary Wednesday morning. “Excited that I can protect myself and my patients from me,” she said after getting the vaccine.
Infirmary Health received about 5,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and they plan on administering about 1,000 doses of those this week. Infirmary Health is the only provider of the vaccine in Baldwin County through Thomas Hospital.
“This is the first real chance we believe that we have hope at the end of what we’ve gone through the last nine months and we are excited about this vaccine,” said Joe Stough, the Executive Vice President and COO of Infirmary Health.
The health system says they will prioritize vaccines for Infirmary Health employees, EMS personnel, and other local providers and adopted hospitals. The adopted hospitals are hospitals that do not have an ultra-low freezer to store the vaccine. The adopted hospitals include: Atmore Community Hospital, South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, EastPointe Hospital, Grove Hill Memorial Hospital, Jackson Medical Center and Monroe County Hospital.
“Every physician who wants to have a vaccine from us will have a chance to have had it by the time we end the year. That’s the goal,” said Stough.
Dr. Crowder-Hicks says she is glad to get the vaccine, but it is conflicting. “A little part of me says hey can I give this vaccine to my mom or someone else just to make sure they don’t get this illness,” she said.
Both she and Dr. Harrison encourage others to continue to protect themselves from the virus.
“You protect your grandmother or your grandfather or your uncle who may have a worse outcome. That’s the reason to get the vaccine and wear the mask,” said Dr. Harrison.
Infirmary Health officials believe the vaccine will be more readily available for the general public by next summer.