TRI-CITIES, Tenn./Va. (WJHL) – A collective regional effort kicked off Wednesday in Northeast Tennessee to widen vaccine eligibility to all adults. The move comes after Gov. Bill Lee announced this week that all Tennesseans 16 and older would be eligible by April 5.
Northeast Tennessee county health departments under the Tennessee Department of Health, the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, and Ballad Health have now opened up vaccine appointments to people aged 16 and up.
“Our region, our regional health departments, our leaders at Ballad really spoke with the state, wanting to go ahead and open up to that goal before April 5th,” said Jamie Swift, Ballad’s chief infection prevention officer.
“We’ve got the vaccine, we’ve got the clinics, we’ve got the manpower to do it. And so we’re here to give that vaccine just as quickly as we can,” she said.
Appointments are necessary to be vaccinated through county health departments.
To be vaccinated through the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, you can call the department at 423-279-2777 to schedule. Sites include Kingsport Civic Auditorium and Whitetop Creek Park.
For more information on Sullivan County appointments, click here.
Other Northeast Tennessee county health departments fall under the TDH. This includes Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Unicoi, Washington, and Hancock Counties.
To book an appointment at a health department in one of these counties, you’re asked to visit vaccinate.tn.gov.
For more information on appointments, click here.
“We want to get as many shots in arms as we possibly can so we can get this pod finished up and hopefully have a normal summer,” said Washington County-Johnson City EMA Director Rusty Sells at the Freedom Hall vaccination site on Wednesday.
People 16 and older can now book appointments for Ballad Health’s Community Vaccination Centers (CVC) in Elizabethton and Kingsport. Appointments are open to non-Tennessee residents as well through Ballad.
You’re asked to call the Ballad Health Nurse Connect line at 833-822-5523 to schedule.
“There can be a wait. Obviously, there’s a high demand right now. So just bear with us, hang on, somebody will get to you. They’ll get you an appointment scheduled,” said Swift.
Ballad also announced a special vaccination event on March 27 at five different CVC locations in Tennessee and Virginia. No appointment is necessary for this one-day event.
“We’re calling it Super Saturday, with our goal to move just absolutely as much vaccine as we can that day,” said Swift.
For more information on vaccinations through Ballad, click here.
Health officials issued the reminder that 16 and 17-year-olds coming to be vaccinated need to be accompanied by a parent. Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use by those ages.