First round of COVID-19 vaccines should arrive in Tennessee this week

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On Friday night, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first COVID-19 vaccine created by Pfizer.

Tennessee Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. John Dunn says he anticipates the shots will be here in the Volunteer State by mid-week.

“This initial set of vaccinations will go from Pfizer to the facilities that are lined up to receive them,” Dr. Dunn said.

Dr. Dunn says large health care facilities are at the top of that list so that doctors and nurses on the COVID-19 frontlines will have access to the vaccines first

During a Thursday press conference, Governor Bill Lee said Tennessee should receive about 56,000 doses this week, which could then be followed by another 100,000 if the FDA soon approves a second vaccine created by Moderna.

Chairman of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Alex Jahangir says after healthcare workers, first responders and residents and employees of nursing homes are taken care of, the vaccines will eventually be made available to the general public.

According to Dr. Jahangir, Nashville is prepared to help distribute the shots to the public. They’ll open sites somewhat similar to the community assessment testing centers when the time comes.

“We’ve been planning that for a few months now. We bought the freezers a long time ago. We have a physical building that we’ve identified that we’re getting all the proper internet and wiring and all that to,” Dr. Jahangir said.

Big-name pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have also signed contracts with the federal government through Operation Warp Speed to help distribute COVID vaccines.

Dr. Jahangir says it will require a lot of us to take the vaccine to make a difference.

“But we need about 70 to 80 percent of our community to get vaccinated to really get to a point where we can get back to what we knew before the pandemic. Get rid of masks. Have more social gatherings,” Dr. Jahangir said.

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