Knox County Health Dept. receives first COVID-19 vaccine shipment


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knox County Health Department on Tuesday received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The shipment of 2,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine will be used to immunize several groups within the Phase 1a1 of the Tennessee Vaccination Plan.

Phase 1a1 individuals include the following:

  • Hospital/Free-Standing Emergency Department Staff with direct patient exposure and/or exposure to potentially-infectious materials
  • home care staff
  • COVID-19 mass testing site staff
  • Student health providers
  • Staff and Residents of Long-Term Care Facility (Skilled Nursing Facility, Assisted Living Centers, Homes for the Aged, DIDD Residential Centers, Group Homes)
  • First responders with direct public exposure

Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department, said there is not enough doses in the initial shipment to get to everyone in the Phase 1a1 group they are responsible for vaccinating. More vaccine is expected soon.

The Health Department has a set group of Phase 1a1 qualifiers they are responsible for vaccinating. The staff is communicating with various professional medical organizations as they follow the Tennessee Department of Health’s vaccine distribution prioritization plan.

Hospitals had their own instructions as to who was to receive the vaccine. In the coming phases, other health care providers, such as drug stores, will have their own rules as well.

Buchanan said they are already communicating with groups in the next phase, Phase 1a2, that includes all other health care workers, i.e. pharmacists, dental hygienists, primary care providers, urgent care providers, medical transportation personnel, etc., to prepare them for when they can receive the vaccine.

However, it will be some time until the general public is able to get the vaccine.

“It will be a while until the vaccine is widely available for anyone to receive in our community,” Buchanan said.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine last week and Covenant Health began their own vaccinations as doses are distributed to frontline healthcare workers and high-risk populations across the country.

When it does become time for the general public to decide whether or not to get the vaccine, Buchanan said to get information from trusted sources like your primary care provider, KCHD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Hopkins Medicine, and the Mayo Clinic.

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