Tennessee leads Mid-South for COVID-19 vaccination rate, according to nationwide tracker

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The United States has given more than 4.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far and Tennessee is one of the states doing the best.

But there are issues.

“The most shots we can get into arms quickly, the better,” said Dr. Scott Strome, Executive Dean at the UTHSC College of Medicine.

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According to a new nationwide vaccine tracker from Bloomberg, Tennessee is one of the top ten states for administering doses of the vaccine.

As of 7 p.m. Monday evening, the tracker showed Tennessee had administered more than 152,000 doses which is more than 50 percent of the state’s first shipment for the vaccine.

But the rest of the Mid-South is further behind.

The database shows Arkansas had administered almost 41,000 doses and Mississippi with almost 22,000 doses.

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Dr. Strome said these numbers are encouraging but the process isn’t moving as quickly as expected. He said the delay may be caused by each state using its own vaccination plan.

“I think it would be helpful to have really strict federal guidance as to what should be done, how it should be done and then some of the workforce needs to actually do it,” he said.

But Dr. Strome said there is one thing that can’t be rushed, and that’s how quickly it takes the vaccine to create immunity.

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“We can expect to see prevention about a month maybe for the Pfizer vaccine, a month maybe little later for the Moderna vaccine so all those folks who you know get vaccinated in January aren’t going to be immune until mid-March,” said Strome.

This week, the Shelby County Health Department is shifting its vaccination efforts to long-term care facilities for staff and residents who are part of the 1a1 priority groups.

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