NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - There’s a bit of a dash for people getting the COVID-19 vaccine or a COVID-19 test before the holidays.

On Monday, five days before Christmas, the Nashville assessment center saw more traffic, whether it was to get that shot in the arm or the nasal swab for a test.

It’s happening just as Metro Nashville Health Department officials said there’s a bit of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the city, and people are getting ready to gather with family and friends.

“Our 7-day moving average has increased between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 about 48%, so our cases are going up,” said Metro Nashville Health Department epidemiologist Leslie Waller.

The long lines for vaccinations and testing at Nashville COVID-19 assessment center came as a bit of a shock to some people who visited the site on Monday.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness. Where is everybody coming from?’” said Sheila Calloway, who came to get her Pfizer booster shot. “I was very surprised at how long the lines are. I’m grateful cause I think that means people are taking the virus, Omicron and holiday seriously and really want to protect everybody in our community.”

“There was more than I anticipated. I’ve driven by before and there weren’t that many people. I assume everyone is doing it before the holidays,” said Max Connor, who spoke to News4 after he got his Pfizer booster shot.

Both assessment centers on Charlotte Pike and Murfreesboro Pike have seen traffic increase over the last couple of weeks. The week of Dec. 6 almost 700 people got tested for COVID-19 and about 350 got vaccinated.

Last week, almost 2,000 people got the COVID-19 test and almost 940 people got their COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’ve seen more people getting their boosters, especially with the threat of Omicron kind of coming onto the scene pretty quickly and rapidly. We have seen people coming reacting to that,” said Waller.

Some who rolled through the drive-thru came for that booster shot before the holidays.

“I’m going home to see my parents who are in their upper 70s. They’ve already been vaccinated and boosted, but I want to make sure I am protecting myself as well so I can protect them,” said Calloway.

“Hosting a lot of family, a lot of folks coming into town and we’ll be traveling a little bit doo, so it will be a couple weeks of total chaos, but at least we’re vaccinated,” said a dad who brought his three kids to get their vaccinations.

Getting that shot in the arm on Monday was a priority for all ages.

“You feel a prick, and then a bunch of pressure on your arm, but not a lot of pressure for it to hurt,” said a 9-year-old girl who received her second dose of vaccine.

“I just held my dad’s hand and let it all happen,” said an 11-year-old boy who also got his second vaccine dose.

The Metro Public Health Department is asking people to take an extra step right before gathering, no matter who you are.

“Before you gather, please get your hands on a rapid test, at home rapid test. Test the day of, the morning of, preferably an hour before you go out just to make sure you are not going to be unknowingly exposing your friends and family to a virus,” said Waller. “Whenever, however, as soon as possible, absolutely people should be initiating that primary series if they have not done so already and getting those boosters if they have not done so already.”

And for those worried about getting that vaccine shot, maybe bring some reinforcement.

“When I got mine, I was super-duper scared at first, but I hugged my stuffed animal first with my other arm and I relaxed my arm, and then I got it,” a 9-year-old girl said explaining the process of getting the shot.

About 45 children ages 5 to 12 were vaccinated at Metro assessment centers the week of Dec. 13.

Nashville has administered 142,000 booster shots so far.

Health department officials said the COVID-19 Delta variant is still the prevalent variant in Nashville, but they believe both Delta and Omicron are the reason the city is seeing an increase in cases.

 

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