Tennessee has added people living in households with medically fragile children to Phase 1c of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, even while doses remain extremely limited for seniors.
The Tennessee Department of Health announced the updated distribution plan Friday.
The Tennessee Department of Health offers a vaccine eligibility verification tool here. Dose availability varies by county, and some counties may be at different phases than others. The vaccine dashboard on Sunday showed 438,577 doses had been given in total statewide.
State officials say they believe that by vaccinating the parents, caregivers and other people in the households of medically fragile children that they can better protect the youths since no vaccine has been approved for children younger than 16.
Phase 1c also includes people age 16 and older who have medical conditions placing them at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, the health department said. This occurs earlier in Tennessee’s plan than in federal vaccination recommendations.
Meanwhile, distribution is running slowly, especially to some seniors.
The state’s updates included setting vaccination eligibility for people 65 years and older to a later date of March 1, WATE reported. Previous state charts designated “February/March” as the eligibility date.
In a press conference Friday, the health department said people 65 and older were pushed back in line because of the delay in vaccinating people 75 and above.
This delay also includes Davidson County, NewsChannel 5 reports.
Still many vulnerable people in long-term care facilities are waiting on vaccines. As of Sunday, 18,000 residents have been vaccinated. This comes as the state announced a total of 2,200 resident deaths in nursing homes out of just over 17,000 cases – that’s a death rate of almost 13%.
Williamson County is not vaccinating people age 70 and older due to limited vaccine doses, Williamson Source reported. Instead, the county is giving the doses to people 75 and older.
Even as some seniors are pushed back in eligibility, Tennessee correctional officers and jailers have been added to Phase 1a1, the health department said. They work in settings and roles that require frequent direct public exposure through close contact in confined spaces, placing them at high risk.
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