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Why did hospital administrators receive COVID-19 vaccine before other healthcare workers?

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 2:23 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As Alabama is still in the process of vaccinating its healthcare workers, some frontline workers have questioned who gets the vaccine first. The WBRC FOX6 News On Your Side Investigators took those concerns to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Over the past few months, a few concerned nurses reached out to us asking why hospital CEOs and administrators got a COVID-19 vaccine before other frontline healthcare workers? We found out that’s not uncommon. In some respects it’s to help preserve the hospital system. In fact, some hospital administrators and public health leaders were some of the first in the country to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It was to demonstrate that as a professional or as a person who works within the system that you were willing to take the vaccine yourself to really show your team that you believed in the safety effectiveness of the vaccine,” Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH said.

You’ve seen Dr. Karen Landers with the state health department on our air countless times since the beginning of the pandemic. She’s also a physician and received her vaccine early on. Landers says it’s not always the title of the person but the role they play.

We know hospital CEOs and administrators are around patients and other healthcare workers and could be exposed to the virus.

“We do know that our hospital administrators and their teams are out within the hospital working through situations and staffing and physical plan in ensuring that everything is operational,” Landers said.

In other words, administrators help keep the hospital from falling off the tracks so that’s one of the reasons they were first in line to get a shot in the arm.

We did hear back from UAB about vaccinating administrators. A hospital spokesperson says in part they are following state health guidance so that the right people are getting the vaccine at the right time. So far, UAB says it’s vaccinated more than 65% of its healthcare workforce and scheduling more every day.

The hospital is also vaccinating healthcare workers from other hospitals in and around Birmingham including first responders from the metro area.

Here’s the full statement from UAB:

“As we have from the beginning of the vaccination process, we are following the state health guidance to the best of our ability, so that the right people are getting the vaccine at the right time. To date, we have vaccinated more than 65 percent of the UAB healthcare workforce. Many of those who have not been vaccinated could not be because they had COVID-19 within the past 90 days, wished to wait until others had received the vaccine, or they have chosen not to at this point for a variety of health-related reasons, the overwhelming majority of which are due to pregnancy.

“To date, UAB has vaccinated more than 65 percent of the UAB healthcare workforce, and we are scheduling more from this group each day.

“Of course, and as I know you are aware, UAB was tasked by the ADPH with vaccinating healthcare workers from other hospitals within a 40-mile radius as well as EMS and first responders from the Birmingham Metro area. We continue to remain on pace to administer all of our current doses of vaccine at the same rate we are receiving them. To date, we have administered more than 29,000 vaccines in Phase 1A and parts of Phase 1B (those 75 an older), and we have the ability to do more across Birmingham, the county and central Alabama if we can get more vaccine doses.”

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