NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With Tennessee officials saying widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine is still several months away, we are taking a closer look at the plan in place to distribute the vaccine in Tennessee. According to the draft that Tennessee submitted to the Centers for Disease Control, the vaccination plan includes four phases, with some divided into sub-phases.
Phase 1: State officials say hopefully beginning in December, they can begin rollout of limited COVID Vaccines. Frontline healthcare workers and first responders would be eligible to get the vaccine first, followed by outpatient healthcare workers, older adults in group care facilities, and people with high risks of complications of COVID due to other illnesses.
Phase 2: Tennessee would move to this phase once a large number of doses are available and supply of the vaccine begins to meet the demand for it. In this phase, school and child care staff, all adults in group care facilities, all older adults, those in critical infrastructure jobs and people with moderate risks of complications of COVID due to other illnesses would be eligible for the vaccine.
State officials say they believe with increased production of a vaccine, they'd be able to move from Phase 2 into Phases 3 and 4 rapidly.
Phase 3: The state would move into this phase once a likely sufficient supply of the vaccine exists, coupled with slowing demand for it. Young adults, children and industry workers would be eligible for the vaccine at this stage.
Phase 4: All others would be eligible for the vaccine at this stage.
State officials say the vaccine won't be widely available until Spring of 2021.
The plan says at least 10 percent of the available vaccine will be prioritized for counties that have a high vulnerability to illness and death from the virus, using a CDC metric called the Social Vulnerability Index.
Middle Tennessee counties that rank highest on the Social Vulnerability Index include Hickman, Lawrence, Bedford, Warren and Grundy counties.