Teachers and adults age 65+ can get COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennesseans aged 65 and older and those in Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccinations on Feb. 22.

Phase 1b includes staff members of kindergarten through 12th-grade schools and child care facilities, as well as operations personnel of first responder agencies.

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“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,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “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.”

FOX13 asked the Shelby County Health Department if this means teachers will be vaccinated on Monday. We weren’t given a clear answer but a spokesperson said the health department will make a formal announcement once teachers are able to make appointments in Shelby County.

Right now, we are in phases 1a1 and 1a2. This means healthcare workers, first responders, funeral workers and people over the age of 70 are getting the vaccine.

In the past, the Shelby County Health Director and Health Officer have said it’s up to the state to move teachers up the priority list and now that’s happening but we are still in limbo due to the weather and other factors.

The Tennessee Health Commissioner believes it could take larger counties like Shelby longer to vaccinate teachers due to a limited supply of vaccines.

“The supply in metro areas might be limited because their populations are bigger so we continue to provide population-based allocations but those counties that have larger populations, it’s going to take them a little bit longer to get through but if they want to move to teachers as early as Monday they are authorized to do that,” said Piercey.

FOX13 reached out to Shelby County Schools. Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said getting teachers vaccinated will help the district return back to school safely.

Again, we still don’t know if teachers will get vaccinated on Monday because the health department will make that announcement.

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The Tennessee Department of Health launched a new online scheduling tool that allows users to book their appointment for COVID-19 vaccination at participating health department sites when they are eligible to do so. Tennesseans can access the system at covid19.tn.gov and select their county to schedule an appointment.

TDH has also updated the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan by adding pregnant women to Phase 1c. Although pregnant women were not included in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, they are at increased risk for hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Pregnant women may choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1c, along with others with high-risk health conditions.

TDH reminds all Tennesseans that in addition to vaccination, wearing a face mask, maintaining social distance and getting tested when exposed or sick are critical to controlling the pandemic.

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