NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Earlier this week, Governor Bill Lee announced that all Tennesseans age 16+ will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by April 5th.
But on Wednesday Montgomery, Maury, Dickson, Rutherford, and Williamson Counties expanded their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for all individuals 16 years and older.
The Tennessee Department of Health says individual counties can choose to move into that next phase early depending on their supply and demand.
Co-owner of Goodlark Pharmacy at Fairview in Williamson County, Chris Konecny, says his staff has been busy administering vaccines since they received their first shipment in January. He says people have come from far and wide.
“Originally the amount of patients would be traveling far,” Konecny said. “I think I had someone from Memphis early on. I’ve had a couple people try to fly their family members in to get the shots with us!”
But as vaccine eligibility expands, and more doses are supplied to pharmacies across the state, Konecny says more people are getting their shots locally.
According to data from the Tennessee Department of Health, some rural counties have higher vaccination rates than those with large, metropolitan areas.
A map from the Tennessee Department of Health shows that that 23.9% of Davidson County’s population has at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But Williamson County is at 26.9% and Maury at 26.1%. This explains why some rural areas are expanding eligibility ahead of the state’s deadline.
Konecny anticipates that his pharmacy, and most others, will continue working around the clock now that even more Tennesseans qualify for the vaccines.
“I think it is going to get quite busy, or busier, over the next couple of weeks. Especially as everyone is getting ready for the summer. Everyone wants to get that first dose,” Konecny said.