KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Department of Health has adjusted the state’s vaccination plan, moving educators to the front of the line and reorganizing who is eligible for vaccination at each phases.
The phased approach starts with those considered most at-risk. There are now seven phases: 1a1, 1a2, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, and 3.
The update includes a chart showing, by age, when people are eligible for the vaccine. Just more than 1 million people aged 65 or older are eligible to receive the vaccine by the end of March. People 75 years and older can choose to be vaccinated in January.
Here are the phases:
Phase 1a1 includes hospital and free-standing emergency room staff with direct patient exposure, home health care staff, COVID-19 mass testing site staff, student health providers, staff and residents at long-term care facilities, first responders, and people under 18 years old who cannot live alone due to serious chronic medical conditions. First priority in this phase are people who are older than 65, or have cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, solid organ transplant recipients, cardiac disease, Sickle Cell disease or diabetes.
Phase 1a2 covers those in out-patient care, including primary care providers and staff, pharmacists and staff, patient transport, outpatient therapists, urgent care providers and staff, environmental services, Oral health providers such as dentists and orthodontists, outpatient lab staff who work with COVID-19 specimens, and funeral/mortuary workers who are in direct contact with the bodies of those who died from COVID-19.
A new category moves K-12 teachers and staff up the list of those eligible for the vaccine. First responders who don’t fit into other categories fall under this one. Priority is to those older than 65.
Phase 1c includes those at high-risk due to chronic disease, including people currently being treated for cancer, chronic renal disease, people with COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, cyctic fibrosis or moderate to severe asthma. Obese people with a body mass index greater than 30, those with heart failure, CADS, cardiomyopathies or hypertension, sickle cell/thalassemia, diabetes cerebrovascular disease/stroke are included in this phase, as are those who are immunocompromised, such as HIV patients, those taking chronic steroids, or a history of organ, blood or bone marrow transplant. Those with dementia and liver disease are included in this phase, as well.
For the first time, the state has determined an order in which people will be eligible to get the vaccinations based on age. This chart is expected to be updated.
Phase 2a includes people working in social services, commercial agriculture, commercial food production, corrections staff at jails and prisons, and those working in public transit.
Phase 2b further divides people working in critical infrastructure, including transportation (including postal workers), public infrastructure, telecommunications, and utility/ energy employees.
The final phase of the state’s vaccine rollout includes people working in congregate living facilities, grocery workers, and remaining staff at corrections facilities.
The state’s plan is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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