NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Department of Health on Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccine given. Since then, more than 8 million COVID vaccines have been administered.

The first shipment of the the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had arrived to TDH on Dec. 14 of last year. A few days later, the first dose was administered at Vanderbilt Medical Center. One year later, TDH says a total of 8,334,635 vaccine doses have been given to Tennesseans across the state.

“I cannot thank the entire health care community enough for the effort put into ensuring Tennesseans have access to this vaccine,” Lisa Piercey, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner, said. “From the first days when vaccine was in high demand with limited supply, to today where it is widely available to everyone, public health and health care frontline workers have been the steady force.”

Now, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved for Tennesseans ages 5 and above. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are approved for individuals ages 18 and above. TDH also says in addition to the recommendation that everyone ages 5 and above should get the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recently announced individuals aged 16 and above should get a COVID-19 booster dose.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is the best defense we have against the continued spread of the virus,” said Piercey. “As we continue to see new variants, we must understand we now live in a world where COVID-19 is present. The vaccine drastically reduces serious outcomes and protects you and those in your closest circles.”

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