When can you get the COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s how to check


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A lot of people across the Mid-South are asking the same question: when can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

First, you have to figure out what group you’re in. In Tennessee, you can do that by taking a survey on the state’s COVID-19 website. It asks what your job is, how old you are and whether or not you have pre-existing health conditions.

Once you answer you’re assigned a phase, and you can only get vaccinated when your county reaches that phase. Right now, the priority is frontline healthcare workers, first responders and people over the age of 75.

“We want to get the high risk individuals as well as people who are working in high risk professions,” infectious disease expert Dr. Manoj Jain said.

That means you’ll have to wait a while if you’re healthy and don’t work in one of those professions. How long depends on your age. For example, 45 to 55-year-olds have to wait until at least April, and those younger than 35 have to wait until at least July.

“Just be patient,” Jain said, “That’s so critically important.”

An interactive map on the state’s website shows you what phases each county is in and how you can make an appointment when you qualify. For example, Shelby County is still in the first stage but some counties, like Fayette, have already reached additional phases.

Memphis resident Tony Jones is 54 and healthy. So, he’ll have to wait several months to get vaccinated, and he’s eager to get the vaccine once he’s eligible.

“I wanna get it, get it over with, make sure I’m covered for my grandchildren’s sake and my wife’s sake and all that,” Jones said, “I just want to be able to protect myself and everybody else around me.”

Mississippi and Arkansas have similar vaccination systems in place. More information is available on the health department websites for those states.

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