Knox County Health Dept. urges patience as vaccine rollout continues with clinic on Saturday

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Health Department is asking everyone to be patient as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations continue.

Saturday’s vaccination clinic in Knox County will not be the only time people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, said Knox County Health Department Director of Communicable and Environmental Disease Charity Menefee during the department’s Thursday briefing.

The Tennessee Department of Health updated its vaccination plan on Wednesday adding age-based allowances alongside priority caregivers.

In response, KCHD said it will offer a vaccination event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, at the Knoxville Expo Center on Clinton Highway.

Members of the public age 75 and above are eligible to receive one of the 500 doses of the vaccine that will be given out. Anyone in that age range or Phases 1a1 or 1a2 are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Phase 1a1 and Phase 1a2 includes all health care workers, long-term care facility workers, first responders, and funeral/mortuary employees. A driver’s license or work ID will be required to get a vaccine.

The vaccine will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. A socially distant line will be started inside the building at 9 a.m. and the first 500 people will be counted off.

Menefee warned against staying outside the building overnight and said if those seeing a vaccination cannot stand for a prolonged period of time other opportunities, including appointments with the Health Department and other medical care providers, might be a better choice to attend.

“Please don’t do that,” Menefee said. “There will be plenty of opportunities. … Keep an eye on those if you have medically fragile family members, or medically fragile yourself, there is more opportunity to come. We promise.”

Security will be on hand and those seeking a vaccination are asked to keep socially distanced and to wear a mask. People who have recently tested positive are asked to stay home.

Those who receive the vaccine will be given a card noting the date of their first dose and have their information entered into a database so they can be reminded of when and where they can get the second dose.

Menefee said the Health Department has received 4,300 doses of the vaccine and administered about 2,400 doses as of Thursday morning. The remaining doses will be used at events next week that were scheduled before Saturday’s vaccination event.

The Knox County Health Department plans on using all communication outlets available, including social media and media outlets, to them to let the public know when more vaccine is received and future vaccination events.

“We will use every opportunity we have to get the word out through all our communication channels,” Menefee said.

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