Tennessee will open up COVID vaccinations to the 1c population on Monday, March 8, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said in a briefing Tuesday.
That group includes anyone over age 16 with a high-risk medical condition, including obesity, hypertension, COPD and diabetes requiring medication, she said.
Piercey said that would open up vaccinations to more than 1.1 million Tennesseans.
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Shelby County has its own independent health department, and a spokesperson said the health department would be making an announcement on the next phase of vaccinations Wednesday.
Piercey addressed the recent Shelby County vaccine scandal, saying that CDC officials arrived Sunday night.
Some people have been concerned that they might have received a vaccine that was expired. Piercey said the state does not think that anyone received an expired vaccine, but they are researching to be sure. She believed a clerical issue may be to blame.
A teacher who emailed WREG expressed concern: “Waiting to see the outcome of the SCHD investigation has started me to not trust the ones in charge of issuing the vaccines.”
Piercey said the CDC and Pfizer officials are now in Shelby County trying to determine if anyone got expired doses.
“One of the major issues was lack of record keeping and so we are taking all the data available to us,” Piercey said. “The teams on the ground are going through that line by line so we can ensure those vaccines were in temperature.”
The only risk of receiving an expired vaccine is lessened effectiveness, Piercey added.
Still Piercey admitted the state must set up as well. They are planning to inspect all health departments in the next three weeks.
“We are stepping up our efforts to do quality assurance, spot checks and random audits throughout the state,” she said.
She says they’re also hiring a healthcare company to help them with quality control.