NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As Tennessee closes in on a major milestone, vaccinating almost half a million Tennesseans in a month, the Tennessee Department of Health is changing its COVID-19 vaccination plan in an effort to prioritize Tennesseans most at risk of illness and death from the virus.
Right now, those over the age of 75, all healthcare workers, first responders, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, funeral workers and those 18 and up that are unable to live independently are able to get vaccinated. These groups all fall under phases 1a1, 1a2 or the age base criteria.
Some Tennessee counties are vaccinating those 70 years old and up and school and childcare facility workers (phase IB), but not many.
“Now that were in a more regular cadence of receiving vaccine, we’re able to predict better,” TDH Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said Friday.
Those predictions have turned into changes for Tennessee’s vaccination plan.
Changes include adding people living in households with medically fragile children to Phase 1c of
the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, which according to the state, should start taking place in March or April.
Vaccination of their parents, caregivers and other household residents will help protect these children, since at this time no COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in children under age 16.
Phase 1c also includes people age 16 and older who have medical conditions that put them at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Dr. Piercey says this group would include children who can’t receive the vaccine, but if they were to be infected, they’d face serious consequences.
Tennessee correctional officers and jailers have also been added to Phase 1a1 of Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, joining all first responders.
“When we can’t keep our inmates secure and safe because we can’t staff our prisons and jails, that is a significant risk to both our society and economy,” Dr. Piercey said. “You’ve heard me say all along this is a draft plan.”
Lastly, we received an update on when each age group could see the vaccine.
The hope is to start vaccinating those 70 and up in February and those 65 and up in March. Those aged 16-55 is still to be determined.
The department’s Vaccination Reporting Dashboard will now be updated five days a week, Monday through Friday as opposed to the current two days a week.
Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting dashboard is available online here.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH reports each day. )