TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) The Tennessee Department of Health announced they will open vaccine registration across the state to those age 65 and older and Phase 1b starting Monday, Feb. 22.
Phase 1b includes teachers and staff members of kindergarten schools, child care facilities, and also operations personnel at first responder agencies.
Tennessee’s six counties that have their own independent health departments, including Sullivan County, are able to make their own decisions regarding vaccine rollout. Sullivan County is currently in this eligibility phase, meaning all northeast Tennessee counties are on the same page at this time.
Sullivan County previously opened vaccine availability to those 65 and older and Phase 1b last week.
Now, the eligibility has expanded statewide meaning it is possible to book an appointment to get the shot in your respective county if eligible.
The expanded eligibility for the vaccine comes as the states anticipates more shipments of doses. As has been true since vaccines first became available, demand still outweighs the supply.
Tennessee’s Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said in a statement, “Tennessee has administered more than one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine so far, and we’ve made substantial progress in protecting our senior citizens who are over age 70 through vaccination. While we remain focused on our seniors, who are the highest-risk population, we’re able to expand vaccine eligibility to these additional groups as our supply continues to grow each week.”
TDH also updated the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan by adding pregnant women to Phase 1c as they are at higher risk for hospitalization and death.
In effort to make it easier to get the vaccine, the department of health rolled out a new vaccine scheduling portal online to help people across the state book appointments. Go to this website and select your county to set up an appointment if you fall under the qualifying categories.