NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The race to vaccinate Tennesseans is well underway with more positive news as Johnson and Johnson secured emergency use authorization for their one shot vaccine and now millions of doses are being shipped across the country.
Tennessee’s vaccination efforts and whether the state can handle the additional doses are coming into question after thousands of COVID-19 vaccines in the past week were trashed.
“The more options the better,” Dr. Marshall Hall, the Emergency Room Medical Director and ER Chief at TriStar Skyline Medical Center said.
Johnson and Johnson clearing FDA authorization was the latest hurdle to get in front of the pandemic.
“The only way to get thorough this epidemic and the pandemic is to get people vaccinated,” Hall said.
Hall is hailing the J&J vaccine coming online adding, “This vaccine in particular its a little bit easier to handle, you can transport easier it last longer in the refrigerator, it’s a single dose.”
From Memphis to Knoxville… mismanagement lead to thousands of expired and unusable doses, Hall says there’s nothing worse in the middle of a pandemic.
“Every dose that we have to throw out represents one person that could’ve been vaccinated,” he said.
Rutherford County Schools announced 1,000 COVID-19 doses had to be thrown away due to vaccine storage mistakes.
“It’s a setback that is going to prolong the pandemic even if momentarily, so wasted vaccine is a horrible situation to find ourselves in,” said Hall.
Hall says it is expected due to the nature of the pandemic.
“It is somewhat inevitable especially with the first round of vaccines being so finicky in terms of how they have to be stored, the timeframe of which they’re reconstituted and administered it’s a hard, logistically it’s hard to do and I understand the difficulties,” he said.
Dr. Hall says there is a light at the end of the tunnel but, vaccination and continuing safe COVID protocols are the surest ways to lay the pandemic to rest.
“We still have cases everyday in Tennessee and in Nashville, we still have people that are unfortunately dying from COVID-19 , however we’re in a better place now,” Hall said.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said Friday Tennessee could receive 40,000 does of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week.