KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Saturday afternoon, Knox County Health Department reported that all 500 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered during its vaccination clinic.
At 7:30 Saturday morning, before the event started, there were several hundred people waiting in line to receive the vaccine. Some even camped outside of the Knoxville Expo Center overnight. The slots quickly filled and hundreds were turned away.
Although many were not able to get the vaccine, Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department says she was happy to see so many eager people in line.
The vaccines were administered on a first come, first served basis for the first 500 people who met certain criteria: first responders, healthcare workers, and seniors over the age of 75.
Some shared concerns about the number of people in line and questioned why it wasn’t a drive through event.
Dr. Buchanan says a walk through clinic was the better option for the staffing they had on hand. A drive through clinic would have required more manpower.
Those who made the 500 say they felt a wave of relief.
“Once I had that 333 number it was… it felt good. I said okay I’m going to be safer after today,” said Susan Muse-McGuire.
Zee A. was the very last person to recieve a ticket, number 500.
“I didn’t think I was going to get it, I’ll be honest,” Zee said. “I’m pretty excited. I’m happy to be getting the shot, getting the vaccine with everybody.”
KCHD wants the public to know that more opportunities will become available as additional vaccine doses are received. Saturday’s clinic was just the beginning of vaccination efforts in the county.
“We were able to do this because we had some vaccine doses we weren’t anticipating so we understand it’s frustrating. I would ask patience. We are doing the best we can with this vaccine and rolling it out,” said Dr. Buchanan.
She adds a reminder, that even once the vaccine has been administered, people should still follow the 5 core actions to prevent getting others sick. These were all first doses. Patients will have to get the second dose in 3 weeks to complete the vaccine.
List of those who helped work Saturday’s clinic:
- 8 Tennessee Air National Guard servicemen
- 42 Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers
- 46 temporary and full-time KCHD team members
KCHD also released the clinic’s five-step process for those who got vaccinated on Saturday:
- Symptom screening and check-in
- Medical review/consult
- Post-vaccination waiting period (15 minutes for most; 30 minutes for those who have a history of severe reaction to anything except injectable medications or vaccinations. Those who have had a severe reaction to any injectable medication/vaccination in the past were not vaccinated at today’s clinic.)
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