NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Large healthcare facilities are ready to roll out the first COVID-19 vaccines as they now wait for them to arrive.
“Yeah, we are ready. We actually just need the vaccine to start putting it in,” Dr. Alex Jahangir told News 2.
First in line will be first responders and health care workers like Dr. Jahangir.
“I’m a frontline healthcare worker, when my time comes up, which hopefully will be very soon, I’m going to get the vaccine, and then again when it’s my families turn, I’m going to have them get the vaccine,” he explained.
The Tennessee Department of Health obtained an early shipment of 975 doses ahead of the state wide shipment on Thursday. The supply will be held as an emergency backup in case any of the receiving hospitals supply is damaged.
56,550 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine should be shipped on Wednesday, according to the Tennessee Department of Health for delivery to 28 sites covering 74 Tennessee hospitals.
TriStar is preparing to administer the vaccine to their healthcare workers Wednesday morning, while Ascension St. Thomas is preparing to administer the vaccine at three sites Wednesday afternoon.
Dr. Jahangir said the state has been holding tabletop exercises weekly and is ready when the time is right to administer the vaccine to the public.
“Tabletop exercises are, alright, the vaccine is coming, you have this many vaccines, these are the people you are going to give it to, here is how we are setting it up, here is how we are going to get the word out, here is everyone coming, what happens if the power goes out, what happens if the truck gets a flat tire, things like that because we want to be able to roll this out effectively and in a safe manner,” said Dr. Jahangir.
While some are hesitant about getting the vaccine, Dr. Jahangir says we need about 70 to 80 percent of the community to get vaccinated.
“I’m really excited about this vaccine, it’s out now and it’s the beginning of the end if everyone gets the vaccine. Right? That’s the key. This has gone through a full FDA process. Hundreds of thousands of people have received this vaccine now since they rolled it out in England for a week, you know, 30-40 thousand people in the original trial. This vaccine works, for the most part appears to be safe, and it has the same level of efficiency as the measles and polio and mumps vaccine,” he explained.
Jahangir believes the vaccine will be available for the public in May or June.
Another 100,000 vaccines could be on the way in a few weeks according to Governor Bill Lee if the FDA approves a second vaccine created by Moderna.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH reports each day. )