BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – After the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine received full FDA approval for anyone 16 and up, the Sullivan County Regional Health Department is hopeful that community members on the fence about the jab may now take the shot.
Department director Dr. Andrew Stephen May told News Channel 11 that he now thinks the question of vaccine safety has been answered.
“The safety of the vaccine I think is now no longer a question or an issue,” said Dr. May. “We do know it’s very safe, we know it reduces disease transmission by a factor of five and reduces hospitalization by a factor of 29.”
Full approval of the vaccine was the final holdout for some community members, and now the shot is widely available for those who were waiting for the go-ahead.
The Sullivan County Regional Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccines at its Kingsport and Blountville locations from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments are only needed by immunocompromised patients so health department staff can monitor for adverse reactions.
Dr. May said that while vaccine rates may rise, preventative measures like masking and social distancing are still needed to protect the most vulnerable in the community.
Children under 12 are not able to receive vaccines by any manufacturer, and studies for children under 16 are still underway.
Drive-thru testing is available at both locations on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Blountville location also offers drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Fridays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Kingsport office will be closed Friday and Monday, August 30.
Full vaccine clinic information is available here.