NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, the country is hoping to gain control with the vaccine. Tuesday, the Federal Government said they are moving to the next phase in their vaccine efforts.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the first step is that the federal government will no longer hold back COVID-19 vaccine doses.
“That’s optimistic for me,” Dr. Alex Jahangir told News 2. However, he added that he will wait and see after the government didn’t deliver before.
“I think the process in Davidson County has gone really well. Now the Trump administration was hoping that 20 million vaccines would be in arms by December 31st and that didn’t happen.”
So far under half that amount has been given in the US according to data from Bloomberg. In Tennessee, 478,500 doses have been received and just over half of that supply has been administered.
Although this doesn’t seem like enough to some, the progress actually puts Tennessee among the top in the nation according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.
Why not more? Tennessee had to allocate a large portion of their doses to Walgreens and CVS up front.
“Part of our state allocation right now, before it comes to Nashville or any municipality is a large percent of it goes to the partnership with Walgreens and CVS.”
Tennessee Department of Health Officials said they are distributing vaccinations as rapidly as they receive them. While Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said they are no longer holding back second doses as a safety stock.
“The local hospital systems, the cities, the counties will administer all vaccines given, so if there are more vaccines given and the state gives us the green light to vaccinate those over 65, I think we can do it. It’s just a matter of let’s see if what’s promised on the federal level trickles down to the local level,” explained Jahangir.
Azar said they are also calling on governors to expand the age group to age 65 and over, while seeking more avenues of distribution.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )