Health and pharmacy officials prepare for influx of COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s been a long time coming for those in Tennessee who are eager to get a vaccine.

While more than a million Tennesseans have been vaccinated so far, that’s only a fraction of the state’s population.

By April 5th, state health officials say everyone 16 years and older will be eligible to receive their dose.

“It might be a little bit messy for the next week or two,” said Dr. Lisa Piercey, Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health. “Our priority is getting the most shots out to the most people as quickly as possible and that might create some more demand.”

More demand will likely mean an influx of hundreds of thousands of people wanting to receive the vaccine.

Retail agencies like Kroger will open their appointments based on the number of vaccines they receive each week.

“It does vary by location,” Jeremy Crain, Nashville Division Health and Wellness for Kroger. “We are able to take care of anywhere from 18, to we have some stores that are able to do multiples at that rate. So, we have some stores that are exceeding 50-60 patients in a particular day.”

Crain says starting April 5th, Kroger pharmacies will post appointment times online for up to 10 days in advance.

Crain advises those who want to be vaccinated to the Kroger website often.

“You can actually check every day,” said Crain. “Somebody may happen to need a cancellation, then an appointment might become available that wasn’t otherwise a visible time, or we will continue to add doses as additional doses become available.”

Phase 3 of Tennessee’s vaccine rollout was set to begin on April 5th as well. State health officials say those people will be treated with priority.

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