Jail employees, jailers moved up to 1a1 category in Tennessee vaccination plan

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FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker holds a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine vial at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, in South Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health announced changes to its vaccination plan on Friday.

The state has made the decision to move jail employees and jailers up to the 1a1 priority category, which is now receiving the vaccine across the state. Health officials said there is a high risk of exposure to this group as they are in close contact with inmates in a confined space.

This led to some questions about the people behind bars and why they were not being moved up as well. The state said staff members are priority due to potential staffing issues and public safety issues if they should become ill.

Another change announced on Friday is that households with sick children will be included in priority group 1c.

Shelby County Health Department is currently vaccinating those in the 1a1 and 1a2 groups along with individuals over the age of 75. The following individuals are now eligible to receive the vaccine:

  • First responders with direct public exposure including EMS, law enforcement, and fire
    fighters
  • Staff working at COVID-19 mass testing sites
  • Staff and residents of long-term care facilities, residential homes for the aged, and staff
    and residents of assisted living centers who have direct contact with residents or
    contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Staff of other congregate care facilities such as homes for the intellectually or
    developmentally disabled, detention centers, Staff of Department of Children’s Services
    residential facilities, rehabilitation hospitals and psychiatric hospitals who have direct
    patient contact or contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Home health care staff with direct patient contact
  • Staff and residents of long-term care facilities, residential homes for the aged, and staff
    and residents of assisted living centers who have direct contact with residents or
    contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Individuals > 18 years or older who cannot live independently due to serious chronic
    medical condition or intellectual or developmental disability
  • Providers of K-12 or university student health services who have direct patient contact
    or contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Funeral/mortuary service providers
  • Health care workers, including:
    • Primary care providers and staff
    • Outpatient specialty providers and staff working with acute patients
    • Pharmacists and staff
    • Patient transport
    • Outpatient therapists
    • Urgent visit center providers and staff
    • Environmental services
    • Oral health providers
    • Behavioral health providers
    • Outpatient laboratory staff working with COVID-19 specimens
  • Individuals age 75 and over

To date, more than 33,000 vaccinations have been administered in Shelby County. Vaccinations are given by appointment only and there are no more appointments available for January.

The Shelby County Health Department said they will announce when more slots become available.

Have questions? Call the Shelby County Health Department’s hotline at (901) 222-MASK.

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