State names Dollywood as possible mass vaccination clinic site

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Sevier County officials are in discussions with the state and Dollywood officials regarding using the Pigeon Forge entertainment park as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.

“We have presented the state with options for the use of Dollywood and are awaiting their response,” said Perrin Anderson, assistant Sevier County mayor for governmental affairs.

Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said in a press conference on Friday that sites like Dollywood, Opryland and Nissan Stadium could hold mass vaccination clinics but the state has held off due to a lack of vaccine supply.

“We’ve got the sites, and we’ve got the staff and — you know what I’m going to say next — we’re just waiting on product and then we can open up those sites,” Piercey said.

A Dollywood spokesman said the park wants to help any way it can, but declined further comment due to the talks still being in the discussion phase.

It wouldn’t be the first time Dolly Parton is associated with the herculean effort to defeat the novel coronavirus and end the pandemic. Parton’s donation to Vanderbilt University last April helped fund research for the Moderna vaccine that is now being administered.

Meanwhile the state says staffing for mass vaccination clinics at sites as large as Dollywood won’t be an issue.

People are already in place, Piercey said, with strike teams, health departments, community volunteers and EMS as options for staffing the clinics.

“Local EMS folks have raised their hand and said ‘we’re willing to do it,’ ” she said, “and then we’ve got the national guard already on orders.”

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