NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee health officials say it could take up to two weeks for county health departments to catch up on COVID-19 vaccination appointments after snow and ice shut down administration sites across the state.
“Most places in west and middle Tennessee had significant disruption last week because of the weather,” said Dr. Lisa Piercey, Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health.
According to state health leaders, vaccine distributors could not pack nor ship Tennessee’s allocation of doses last week, which forced about a seven-day delay. Many county health departments were shut down and thousands of appointments for vaccination were postponed.
“A lot of sites are playing catch up this week,” said Dr. Piercey, “So, they are taking the appointments that were supposed to happen last week and then putting them on top of the appointments this week. So, they are sort of working double duty.”
Departments like Rutherford County posted a message on their Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, asking the community for patience. The post read in part, “Staff is making their way through the list to get you rescheduled as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
County agencies across the state are now extending daily hours into the evening and working weekends.
“They won’t be 100 percent caught up this week,” Dr. Piercey explained, “We expect it to take 10-to-14 days to get through all of that process. But they will be doing catch up this week and regular vaccine this week.”
Fortunately, Dr. Piercey says a one-week delay will not have an impact on those awaiting their second dose of the vaccine. The CDC has updated its guidelines saying it is safe to wait up to six weeks between doses.