NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville officials said the county is ready to move into the next phase of vaccine distribution.
During a press conference on Thursday, health officials said Davidson County has the highest number of health care workers in the state, leading to the delay of phase 1a2 which allows residents at least 75 years old to sign up for a vaccine appointment.
Right now appointments are only been made for weekends through January. MPHD said there will be a waiting list for residents who can be contacted as more appointments are added for the next month.
Other residents eligible for the vaccine in phase 1a2 include outpatient health care workers with direct patient exposure such as dental officers, chiropractor officers, home health organizations, and funeral homes. MPHD said it will reach out by email to businesses and organizations that fall under this phase.
Those interested in making an appointment can visit Metro's COVID-19 website or call the COVID-19 hotline at 615-862-7777 to sign up. The hotline is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week.
Barbara Richards is relieved she was able to secure a vaccine appointment for her husband, Stanley Chervin, through the website. Richards said, "We’re very relieved, and we’re looking forward to getting back to life as we know it and remember it."
At first, Barbara said she tried to get an appointment in Williamson and Dickson County. "We’re pretty tech savvy but we’ve had a lot of frustration trying to get on websites or even find websites that was available," Richards said.
Dr. Gill Wright said they're reaching out to companies who qualify for this phase too. Once the city gets more vaccines, they will start larger distributions. "The phase 1a2 process may start slowly, but we’re working with all our systems to get the vaccine into as many arms as soon as possible, and as quickly as possibly," Wright said.
For people 75 and up, 1,200 appointments already filled up this weekend. "We will be scheduling those appointments for Saturday and Sunday throughout the end of January with plans to add additional time slots as the supply of vaccine allows," Wright said.
Barbara said she can't wait to bring her husband to get vaccinated Saturday, and she hopes the sign-up process across the state will become easier for people too.
HCA TriStar, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Meharry Medical, Nashville General, Ascension St. Thomas and the VA are making plans to provide vaccines for established patients. MPHD asked residents who receive direct care from these hospital systems and are 75 years or older to look out for an email on how to get a vaccine from the hospital directly.
Both COVID-19 vaccines that are currently approved for emergency use require two doses within a certain set of days. MPHD said those who receive the vaccine through the health department will be given a reminder card with details on the recommended date to receive the second dose.