State: One million Tennesseans vaccinated against Covid-19

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RN Lauren Dean fills syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine inside of the pharmacy at the Hamilton County Health Department’s new COVID Vaccination POD at the CARTA Bus Terminal on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 in Chattanooga, Tenn. (Troy Stolt/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health announced one millon people in the state have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

‘”We celebrate this milestone and expect to see this number increase as vaccine is more widely available,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey. “The hard work and dedication of our local health departments and statewide vaccine partners have helped us reach this significant moment in our fight against COVID-19.”

In a release Thursday, the department said 22 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Half of the population over the age of 60 and two-thirds of those over the age of 70 have received at least one dose.

The numbers are also improving in underserved communities as well. The health department said the percentage of Hispanics having received one dose of the vaccine went from less than four percent to 12.9 percent in a month. In the Black community, that number went from five percent to 15 percent in the same time frame.

Piercey said the numbers show Tennessee is heading in the right direction.

“We are encouraged that Tennessee is increasing uptake particularly among our elderly, minority and underserved populations,” said Piercey. “At this point in the vaccine roll out, we are committed to access for everyone if they choose to receive a vaccine in a health department, a pharmacy, or a provider’s office.”

The news comes as the Biden administration prepares to open a mass vaccination site at the Pipkin Building in Memphis. The site will run 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with the ability to vaccinate 3,000 people each day.

The designation means that Shelby County is about to see a major influx of vaccines. The federal government will have 21,000 vaccines at their disposal each week through FEMA. Those doses will be in addition to the ones allocated to Memphis through the state of Tennessee.

The state reports that 24.7 percent of Shelby County residents, or 347,754 people, have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Next week, the city of Memphis anticipates having more than 50,000 vaccine appointments available. If all goes according to plan, 63,000 people will be fully vaccinated by the end of six weeks.

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