According to Gov. Bill Lee (R), all people over age 16 will be eligible to receive the coveted COVID-19 vaccine no later than April 5.
“The federal government has asked us to make sure every adult can receive access by May 1, and Tennessee will beat that deadline,” Lee said in a Monday press conference.
Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said she expects a bump in COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks, and that 350,000 first doses will be distributed next week. She expects more than 900 different medical providers to be distributing the vaccine, 50,000 doses of which are from Johnson & Johnson.
Tennessee is seeing a geographical disparity in appointment fillings, with only about 20 percent of appointments being filled in rural areas, and more than 80 percent of appointments being filled in urban areas.
“It’s a challenge to try and find the right balance of supply and demand. It’s really important for counties to be able to move at their own pace,” Piercey reportedly said. “In rural areas, where there are communities of color, uptake is lower… we’re working to change that.”
She reminded Tennesseeans that they are allowed to receive a vaccine in a county outside of where they live.
Along with residents who are 55 and older, “critical infrastructure workers” are now allowed to receive the vaccine too. Included in that category are social services workers, staff at correctional facilities, public transit employees, utility workers, among others.
Soon, the state will move to Phase 3 of its vaccine rollout plan.
That phase will include “residents and staff members of congregate living facilities including college dormitories, group homes and shelters and those in the corrections system,” according to The Tennesseean, who cited the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). “It also includes staff at overnight camps and grocery store workers who were not eligible for vaccination based on previous age or risk-based categories.”
So far, the state has delivered just shy of 3 million doses of the vaccine.
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