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Tennessee teachers to get COVID-19 vaccine sooner in new vaccine plan update

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Posted at 10:33 AM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 13:02:32-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Teachers and people 75 years or older are next in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Health announced updates to its vaccination plan on Wednesday after new recommendations from the advisory committee on communication practices. TDH said the decision was also made alongside discussions with Tennessee's unified command group and a stakeholder group of more than 30 partner agencies and organizations.

"COVID-19 vaccines remain limited at this time, and Tennessee's allocation plan prioritizes those most at risk of illness and death from COVID-19," said Dr. Lisa Piercey, Tennessee health commissioner. "The plan also prioritizes critical infrastructure workers who have direct public exposure or work in environments posing a higher risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19."

Gov. Bill Lee and Dr. Piercey took questions from reporters on Wednesday morning to discuss the new vaccine plan adjustments.

Tennessee statewide is currently in phase 1a of the vaccine roll-out, which provides doses for in-patient health care workers, first responders with direct exposure to the public and staff and residents of long-term care facilities.

Many counties have moved into the latter half of phase 1a, known as 1a2. Additionally, some counties are also beginning to take appointments for those at least 75-years-old. These are largely more rural counties. Some larger counties, including Davidson, are still in phase 1a1 due to the large number of first responders who need to be vaccinated.

The full county-by list can be seen here. If your county says "75-years-old" in that list, you can begin to call your local health department to schedule a vaccination.

Phase 1b will now include teachers and staff members of child care centers. This phase also includes first responders who were not apart of the prior phase. Phase 1c consists of people who are 16 years or older and have high-risk health conditions.

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The following phases will prioritize critical infrastructure industries. TDH said the vaccine plan is still subject to further changes.

TDH said one of the state's shipments vaccine doses has been delayed by almost a week due to a snow storm in Michigan.