NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The team responsible for setting up COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites will disband at the end of the year, Metro Public Health Department officials have announced Tuesday. 

The COVID-19 Strike Team will cease operations on New Year’s Eve, they said in their announcement. The team, which offered COVID-19 boosters, testing and flu shots in community locations around the city, will continue to offer those services to the public through Dec. 31. The team was initially formed in mid-2020 and has held more than 1,300 events offering COVID tests, vaccines and booster doses, as well as flu shots. 

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Starting Jan. 1, 2023, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters and flu shots will be available in MPHD clinics by appointment. COVID vaccines and boosters will continue to be free of charge at the clinics, officials said. At-home test kits can also be picked up at any Metro Health clinic, but PCR testing will not be available through the department starting in January. Providers will still be required to report cases of COVID-19 to the Metro Health Department. 

“While COVID-19 is still a serious issue in our community, the response from the Metro Public Health Department will shift to mirror the way we respond to other serious, endemic illnesses,” said Dr. Gill Wright, Director of Health. “Vaccines and boosters are very effective at preventing the most serious effects of COVID-19. We encourage everyone to stay up to date on their vaccinations to best protect against hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.” 

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Additionally, MPHD will no longer be publishing weekly COVID-19 surveillance reports as COVID-19 shifts to a more endemic virus, officials said. Wastewater surveillance will continue, however, allowing MPHD to get a sense of the amount of virus in the community. MPHD will continue to monitor data on COVID-19 to track the virus and alert the community of notable trends.