Sullivan Co. health official ‘disappointed’ by lack of vaccine turnout since eligibility expansion

Local Coronavirus Coverage

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Top health officials in Sullivan County are concerned by the drop-off in people seeking vaccinations.

Sullivan County Regional Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator Mark Moody said Monday that the turnout for vaccines has been down since opening up vaccinations to everyone ages 16 and older in Tennessee.

“People seem to be getting complacent with the virus right now. It is by no means gone,” Moody said. “It is very important that everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated, get vaccinated. Again, as with any vaccine, it is not 100% protection.”

Moody said the health department is urging as many people as possible to come and get vaccinated.

“I am also a little disappointed because we really anticipated a much larger turnout when the state dropped the phase requirements in their vaccination plan and we went to 16 and older,” Moody said. “I am a little disappointed that we weren’t able to see the volumes we were seeing previously.”

Moody said Sullivan County has two vaccine sites open as of Monday at White Top Creek Park and the Kingsport Civic Auditorium.

Starting Tuesday, the health department will be offering the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine at those locations.

“To our knowledge, there has not been a documented death after they have been vaccinated,” Moody said. “We just need people to come get vaccinated. Our numbers are dropping off some. There is plenty of vaccine available.”

Moody also stated that the health department is currently negotiating with Bristol Motor Speedway to host “mega-pod” vaccination events for a few days. During those events, health officials hope to administer 2,000-3,000 doses in a day.

The Sullivan County Regional Health Department will remain at White Top Creek Park until the end of May. Around 750 people per day can receive doses of the vaccine at the park, according to Moody.

SCRHD Director of Operations Hannah Taylor said appointments are not required for either location on Wednesday, April 7. Vaccines will be administered from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

On Thursday, April 8, walk-in vaccinations will be available at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The White Top Creek Park location will be closed due to expected weather.

Both sites will allow walk-in vaccinations on Friday.

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