Tennessee updates vaccine plan to include correctional officers

COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 2:00 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 15:00:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — The Tennessee Department of Health has updated its COVID-19 vaccination plan to include correctional officers and jailers in Phase 1a1.

TDOH officials announced the update Friday, saying these individuals have been added to the first group due to their risk and direct exposure to close contacts in confined spaces.

Additionally, people living in households with medically fragile children are eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 1c of the state’s plan. Currently, no vaccine has been approved for children under 16. This phase also includes those 16 and older who have medical conditions that put them at a higher risk of COVID complications or death.

The state's age-based criteria for vaccinations as of January 22, 2021.

The state also said the new, more contagious strain of the virus is already in Tennessee, and by March, they’re expecting it to be the dominant strain in the state. As a result, state health leaders are expecting larger case numbers due to the strain’s virulence. However, this won’t change their approach.

Health officials said while this new strain is not vaccine resistant, it’s still too early to tell if another variant, detected in South African, is resistant to the vaccine.

As of this week, more than 370,000 Tennesseans have received the vaccine. Click here to view the state's vaccinations dashboard.