KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee Medical Center is on track to vaccinate roughly 8,000 eligible people by the end of February.
Since mid-December, UTMC has administered around 18,000 shots, a mix of both first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses to frontline healthcare workers, and within the last few weeks, anyone 70 or older.
The first clinics, with only UTMC healthcare workers, evolved to support the community clinics. The team at UTMC created a reservation website for appointments, a phone line to call for appointments, and a system for the clinics to get people in and out, safely.
“We started in a smaller space, initially, when we were just focused on our team members,” said Dr. James Shamiyeh, senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at UT Medical Center.
From that point on, Dr. Shamiyeh said community clinics were made possible by volunteers and UTMC staff who wanted to help.
“It’s been a joy for them to work there. This is one of the things you can do right now, not only do you feel like you’re making a difference, but you have an impact on a person… an individual…” said Shamiyeh.
He said after every clinic, even those for healthcare workers, the staff was able to make improvements when they saw what worked and what did not.
“This is a learning process for everyone. Every time we basically go through an iteration of this we decide what went well, what can we improve upon, then we make adjustments,” said Shamiyeh.
How to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at UTMC
Appointments are only posted online when vaccine supply is available. Right now, Shamiyeh says, there is not a consistent schedule as to when they are receiving vaccine deliveries.
Once they have vaccine, they schedule based on the number of doses, and share those plans online and on social media.
As more vaccine arrives, Shamiyeh says, he believes the community clinics will likely grow or become more frequent.
The next community clinic is February 15th-19th, all appointments are booked.
After someone makes an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine at UTMC, they are sent instructions for where to go and what to expect when they arrive.