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NASHVILLE — Tennessee Commissioner of Health Lisa Piercey addressed reporters with the Tennessee Press Association over a Webex virtual conference on Wednesday, February 10. Piercey was opportunistic on many fronts concerning the distribution and inoculations of the COVID-19 throughout Tennessee. She was also very frank about challenges to the distribution of vaccines.
The good news is Tennessee is expected to receive 106,000 to 107,000 vaccines from the federal distribution system this week, up from approximately 101,000 last week. A bonus amount of vaccines is promised in the coming weeks, said the commissioner.
Vaccines are distributed to the counties based on population. Dr. Piercey said there is some vaccine-tourism is occurring in which people from other states or from other counties are vaccinated because a particular county has vaccines.
She noted many elderly patients, who are now eligible for the vaccines, are apprehensive to use an online portal to register to be vaccinated. They are the ones who will phone the Department of Health to schedule a vaccination. The phone receptionist registers the patient in the same system as the one used by citizens over the internet. In the near future, a new online system will roll out and provide the registrant of the time and place to appear to be vaccinated.
Presently, there are two vaccines approved for use, both require a two-dose administration. J and J’s vaccine will likely be approved for use in the coming weeks. It is a one-dose vaccine, which is approximately 70 percent effective against COVID-19. She said it is 100 percent effective in preventing serious illness or hospitalization as it relates to COVID-19.
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