The owner of urgent care asks the state to include clinics for the first vaccine dose.
His employees wear masks and face shields, giving COVID-19 tests, advising the sick how to treat their suffering, and writing prescriptions for medication.
But Chandler Anderson’s employees will not be receiving the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine because they work in urgent care, not hospitals.
“We’re one of the only providers actually treating positive patients,” Anderson said.
Anderson has repeatedly called his local state health department in Murray County, asking that urgent care workers also receive the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Do you know where people are getting tested? At urgent cares. Because the health department isn’t open on the weekends,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he understands that the first round of the vaccine should go to hospital workers first. Still, he said his employees are at just as much of a risk as they, too, are treating positive cases.
Anderson said the state’s decision to next week only offers self-test kits at its local state-run health departments instead of traditional testing (except for those who can’t register for the self-test kits results online), which means people seeking in-person testing will head to urgent cares instead.
He said he’d warned his children that he’ll be at work even more.
“If we’re not given this as part of phase 1a, if we start getting sick, where are these people going to go? The health department’s not available,” Anderson said.
The state’s vaccine distribution plan online provides plenty of details. Still, it does not explain how it reached its conclusions about where the vaccine will be sent.
Urgent care clinics are set to receive the vaccine in the second round, and there is no timetable of when that will occur.
The health department’s website only reads that the first round of the vaccine will be shipped to 28 sites shared with 74 hospitals.
News4 Investigates asked the state to identify the hospitals, but a spokesman for the health department said they could not for security reasons.
That spokesman did not respond when asked to explain the security concerns.