‘We need more vaccines.’ Nashville mayor says supply is biggest hurdle in vaccination efforts

Covid19 Vaccine
Posted at 11:20 AM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 21:04:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Nashville Mayor John Cooper says Metro’s vaccination efforts have gone smoothly so far, but supply continues to be its biggest hurdle.

Cooper provided an update on Davidson County’s vaccinations during Metro’s weekly COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.

Until now, the federal government had only been releasing half of its available doses, with Tennessee getting 80,000 doses a week. However, Cooper said 40% of that is sent to nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state – leaving 48,000 doses to be split among the state’s 95 county health departments.

As a result, Nashville is only getting 5,300 doses a week.

“In Nashville our health system partners can vaccinate thousands more residents every single day, but we need more vaccines. We are limited by the amount of vaccine we have received,” Cooper said.

The mayor said Metro hopes to get 6,000 more doses in the next week.

Cooper said they’re also constrained by immunization rules that don’t prioritize some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, including transplant patients, immunocompromised residents and those with other high-risk health conditions. He said they’re advocating to change that to include this group.

Nashville began phase 1a2 of its vaccination plan last week to include those 75 years and older, outpatient health care workers and residents with developmental disabilities who can’t live independently.

Cooper said their goal is to not waste any doses, keep wait times low and continue to follow the approach as outlined by the state and CDC.

Metro is also partnering with Meharry Medical College to begin 75 and older vaccination clinic to increase the rate of vaccinations across the community. Last weekend, 1,120 seniors got their first dose of the vaccine.

“Seniors will continue to receive vaccinations by appointment every weekend throughout January. Additional appointments will become available to those on the 75 and over waiting list when we receive more vaccines,” Cooper said.

If you are 75 or older, you must make an appointment to be added to the vaccine waiting list. Click here to fill out the form. You can also call 615-862-7777 to make an appointment.

Watch Metro's full briefing below: