NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — As quickly as Tennessee is getting the vaccines, they are flying off the shelves. Tennessee has received thousands of doses with another expected shipment of 64,000 this week.
More than 200,000 Tennesseans have been vaccinated, but there’s a problem. Half of Tennessee’s counties have run out of the vaccine or are on limited supply.
The State Health Department is reporting at least 45 counties ran out so quickly and others did not. When asked why, the health department says Tennessee is allotted vaccines according to the state population not county population and that more doses are coming.
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FOX 17 News’ Harriet Wallace asked the department, what tracking and accountability measures they have in place to ensure staff handles the vaccines appropriately to avoid any wasted doses as seen in other states. A spokesman says each facility that receives the vaccine doses are given and expected to follow the CDC guidelines for storage. IF any are found to be in violation of that, their future shipments could be impacted. So far, he says no facilities are reporting wasted or damaged doses.
Dr. David Aronoff, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, says administration and distribution of the vaccine is more critical than ever as Tennessee is seeing the highest number of people hospitalized with Covid than any point in the pandemic.
“This pandemic, until it is gone, we’ll continue to exact a very large tole on our health, our economy and on our ability to educate the children and students in our state,” said Dr. Aronoff.
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Dr. Paul Juarez of Meharry Medical College says there’s a new strain of Covid-19 that is more aggressive and transmits much faster than the current strain. He worries with the limited supply of vaccines, it will hurt everyone, especially more vulnerable communities like lower income and people of color.
“It’s really a crucial period to get people vaccinated. These next couple of months are going to be very, very difficult,” said Dr. Juarez.
Dr. Juarez is leading the Tennessee C.E.A.L. project. The program centers around raising awareness about the virus and vaccine and access to the vaccine in underserved communities. Those involved in the program also perform critical research in this area.
Meharry is also conducting trial research on a new Covid vaccine. For more information about this vaccine and to register for the trial, CLICK HERE.
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