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Mobile health officials discuss delays in vaccination effort

(WPMI) Mobile health officials discuss delays in vaccination effort
(WPMI) Mobile health officials discuss delays in vaccination effort

Not all has gone smoothly with the vaccine process. In fact, Mobile County Health Officer Dr. Bert Eichold apologized Wednesday for the system failures that resulted in delays here.

"We have to do what we’ve always done, and that’s figure things out," said Dr. Eichold.

Dr. Eichold is talking about the challenge facing Mobile County in getting its residents the vaccine.

"I apologize to everyone in the community trying to use the system," Dr. Eichold said.

The first roadblock was the delay in getting the vaccine from the federal government.

"We put in an order for 10,000 doses for the Mobile County Health Department and got in about 500," Dr. Eichold said.

Then there's the system for setting up appointments - a nightmare for many.

"It would have been nice if we would have had a federal system that had been designed, that everybody could use, that could be 24 hours a day, seven days a week, digitalized, and we could specify when our clinic times would be and what our hours would be," Dr. Eichold said.

That's why the walk-up clinics have been put in place.

"All we’re gonna do is try to help people not get COVID-19," Dr. Eichold said.

Jeff St. Clair is the CEO of Springhill Medical Center. His hospital is taking care of those patients who weren't so lucky.

"The current surge is certainly more than we experienced with the summer surge," St. Clair said.

St. Clair says about one third of his beds are filled with COVID-19 patients.

"We have the highest number of COVID patients that we’ve ever had since the pandemic began," St. Clair said.

St. Clair says while his system is stressed, his crew is remaining diligent in making sure COVID-19 patients are not co-mingled with those patients in the ICU and critical care units. He says things will get better.

"Two or three months from now we’ll be looking back on this and be delighted where we are compared to where we are today," St. Clair said.

Elective surgeries have stopped in other areas, but it's business as usual in Mobile County. St. Clair says bed availability could affect that, but they're not in that position right now.