NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Tennessee will move to Phase 1C in the vaccination process beginning next Monday, Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey announced Tuesday.

Piercey estimates that 1.1 million Tennesseans of all ages would be eligible to receive the vaccine beginning Monday.

Phase 1c includes persons with high-risk comorbidities, including pregnancy, and caregivers of children with high-risk comorbidities.

Individuals age 65 and older is also eligible to receive the vaccine.

In Davidson County, residents age 65 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine along with those in Phase 1b.

“We’re going to this phase because of a large surplus of vaccines,” Piercey said during a conference call on Tuesday. “There are a lot of people of all ages that will qualify for the vaccine beginning Monday.”

Piercey said the state would receive 54,000 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Wednesday. With the 192,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the state would have almost 250,000 doses available this week.

The health commissioner said the state would not receive any additional Johnson & Johnson does until the week of March 22.

Piercey also said there could be a lot of backend loading with an increase in vaccine doses at the end of the month.

“There could be as much as 40% increase in Pfizer and Moderna in addition to Johnson & Johnson,” said Piercey. “We could have as many as 300,000 doses available those weeks.”

Piercey said the Johnson & Johnson vaccines would likely go to metro areas and to large-scale vaccination events. She said the health department is working with the Tennessee Board of Regents to utilize those schools for mass vaccination events later this month. Those locations will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

The state-operated health departments in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have over 200,000 available appointments in the system right now, which goes out through May.

“You may have to drive a little longer that you have to, but there are vaccines available,” said Piercey.

Piercey encouraged Tennesseans to visit to find locations where vaccinations are available.

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey announces the state will move to Phase 1C on Monday.

Check and balances in place for COVID-19 vaccine management

Tennessee Health officials investigate several issues of COVID vaccine doses being wasted or misused in other parts of the state. Nashville Public Health officials are reassuring residents doses are being closely tracked until they make it into people's arms.

The Tennessee Department of Health has completed a process review of state COVID-19 vaccine administration to minimize possible waste and support providers receiving greater supplies of vaccine ahead of opening eligibility to Phase 1c.

The TDH Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Immunization Program leads the state’s vaccination activities for COVID-19 and other vaccine-preventable diseases. The program has standard procedures in place to ensure safe and efficient management of all vaccine handling and administration activities.

Checks and Balances in Place

  • Providing technical assistance and monitoring in collaboration with state, local and private partners
  • Routine, detailed, quality assurance visits with vaccine providers required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tennessee county health departments receive these visits every 24 months. Private providers receive these visits every 12 months.
  • Health care providers and organizations currently receiving COVID-19 vaccines receive a call from the TDH regional immunization representative to review a checklist of requirements. Any flags prompt a site visit.
  • All new providers onboarded to receive COVID-19 vaccines receive information to help start their operation, and are contacted by the TDH vaccine storage and handling team to review expectations for appropriate handling and administration of these vaccines.
  • TDH is engaging a health care quality assurance company to provide ongoing checks with COVID-19 vaccine providers.

As TDH reported last week, TDH has embedded personnel at the Shelby County Health Department for technical assistance, monitoring of their pharmacy operation and improvement in efficiency of their COVID-19 vaccination sites, following reports of COVID-19 vaccine wastage. The TDH immunization program is working with the state’s five other metropolitan health departments to perform quality assurance visits this week and will perform quality assurance checks with all 89 rural health departments over the next 2-3 weeks.


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