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Southeast Health is first in Alabama to administer Pfizer COVID vaccine to their doctors

Dr. Walt Doty and Dr. Ravi Nallamothu were the first two to receive their first dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine Tuesday morning.
Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 6:47 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - After much anticipation, a temperature check, and a quick shot in the arm, the first set of front line health care workers in the state of Alabama have begun their journey of the Pfizer COVID vaccine process.

“No one wants this to be over more than we do,” Dr. Walt Doty, Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician/Director of Critical Care Unit Southeast Health, said.

Dr. Doty and Dr. Ravi Nallamothu were the first two to receive their first dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine Tuesday morning. Following them were other physicians in the hospital who work on the front lines.

“I think everyone is really excited,” Dr. Doty said. “I think everyone is ready for this. This is a day that we have been waiting for really for a long time.”

After battling on the frontlines against this virus for months, today brought hope to these healthcare workers, but it is not over just yet.

“I don’t want everyone to think just because a vaccine is available for limited populations at this point that it just means we call everything off,” Dr. Doty said. “I think that we have to continue to do our mitigation strategies and those things because we’re a long way from the end of this, but I think this is the first day where you can kind of see maybe the tide is starting to turn here.”

Providing a way to not just treat the virus, but to prevent it.

“Hopefully beginning to the end of the horrible pandemic that we all have been suffering through,” Jacey Cox, Pharmacy Director, Southeast Health, said.

The vaccine is stored in an ultralow temperature freezer between negative 60 and negative 80 degree Celsius.

“They can thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes and then once diluted the dilution is good for six hours,” Dr. Cox said. “They are stable in the refrigerator to thaw for two to three hours and stable in the refrigerator for up to five days prior to dilution.”

This vaccine is administered in a two-dose series about three weeks apart. Those who receive it must wait 15 minutes before leaving due to possible reaction.

“We’re trying to save as many people as we can and I understand the uncertainty but at the same time we have got to do something,” Dr. Doty said. “This is our best shot at a way out of this and I think the uncertainty is reasonable, but certainly I think we have to push ahead.”

Southeast Health received just under two-thousand vaccines Monday morning which will all be administered to frontline health care workers.

The vaccine is not yet available to the general public.

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