The Tennessee Department of Health has updated the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan and its phased approach to administering COVID-19 vaccines to Tennesseans.
“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 Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “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.“
Updates to the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan are focused on reducing risks:
- Risk to our health care infrastructure – keeping frontline health care workers at the bedside, while reducing demand on hospital capacity
- Risk to individual health outcomes – protecting the most vulnerable Tennesseans first
- Risk to our society and economy – preserving the workforce in our highest risk areas
Tennessee has updated the state’s plan based on new recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and discussions with Tennessee’s Unified Command Group and a stakeholder group of more than 30 partner agencies and organizations. These phases are as follows and are subject to additional changes pending further recommendations from the ACIP and other federal and state partners:
Tennessee’s updated plan includes three allocation phases, based on risk and informed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine. Tennessee is now in Phase 1a, which is subdivided into two phases: Phase 1a1 for in-patient health care providers, first responders with direct exposure to the public and staff members and residents of long-term care facilities, and Phase 1a2 for those primarily working in outpatient health care settings. Equity remains a crosscutting consideration of Tennessee’s plan, with attention given to ensure unlicensed health care workers, low wage earners and those with limited access to health care resources will have access to vaccination.
Individuals qualifying for vaccination under Phases 1a1 and 1a2 may be offered vaccine by their employer, through their local health department or through a partnering hospital. Staff members and residents of long-term care facilities will be provided vaccinations through the federal partnership with Walgreens and CVS, in partnership with a local pharmacy or via TDH vaccination strike teams. Phase 1a1 and 1a2 individuals should check with their employer or contact their local health department for more information.
Tennessee is also beginning age-based vaccination in ten-year age brackets, starting with those aged 75 and above.
Later Phase 1 groups consist of Phase 1b, which includes teachers and staff members of child care centers and kindergarten through 12th grade schools and other first responders not covered under Phase 1a1; and Phase 1c, which includes people aged 16 or older who have high-risk health conditions.
Subsequent phases prioritize critical infrastructure industries. Employees in industries not specified in the phases will become eligible as their age group is reached or according to their individual risk.
It is important to note Tennessee counties may progress through phases at different times, depending on supply of the COVID-19 vaccines and demand for them. To learn what phase your county is in, visit www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/CountyPhaseStatus.pdf or call your local county health department.
TDH reminds all Tennesseans that in addition to vaccination, wearing a face mask, maintaining social distance and getting tested when exposed or sick are critical to controlling the pandemic.
Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is available online at www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/COVID-19_Vaccination_Plan.pdf. Find answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination at https://covid19.tn.gov/prevention/vaccine/.