KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Beginning today, Wednesday, March 24, 15 East Tennessee counties will be administering COVID-19 vaccines to all residents aged 16 and older by appointment.
A Tennessee Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that residents aged 16 and older in the following counties will be able to book a vaccine appointment on Vaccinate.tn.gov.
Earlier this week, Gov. Bill Lee announced all Tennesseans aged 16 and older would be eligible to receive the vaccine by no later than April 5.
As of Monday, The Knox County Health Department remains in Phase 2a/2b of COVID-19 vaccination plan. Phase 2a/2b includes people in critical infrastructure including public transit employees, telecommunication staff, and utility workers among others.
James Knight, pharmacy practice coordinator for Kroger Health, explained they have a team dedicated to updating their scheduling system to ensure its customized to specific states and counties, and noted they’re actively working to add the most recent change.
“I think everybody is excited to see hope and to know that perhaps there’s an end that we can celebrate,” Knight said. “We’re committed to follow that federal challenge of getting everybody that wants a vaccine vaccinated by the end of May. That’s the goal. So, we want to do our part to help meet that expectation.”
Each clinic is administering between 30-60 shots every day, Knight said. K
roger Health is currently offering the Pfizer vaccine. It is currently the only vaccine available to those 16 and 17-years-old. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson require you to be at least 18.
Emma Dallas is excited to see more people her age qualify for a vaccine. She a part-time barista and a full-time nursing student, who is set to graduate in a few weeks. She became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine late last year.
“It feels great,” Dallas said. “Of course, I’m still careful, watching my hands, wearing a mask, but it’s definitely comforting. I feel I can be around my grandparents. I can take care of patients. I can serve people food here, and I don’t really have to worry about getting it or giving it to anybody.”
“I would urge people to get it. Seeing the effects that its had on individuals and their families, people having to pass away alone, or go through this alone, I would say getting the shot is their best option and its what’s best for everybody moving forward.”
To signup for a vaccine appointment at Kroger, go to kroger.com/covidvaccine.