On Thursday, drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations and testing will be moved to Cobb Parr Park to increase efficiency, said Tipton County Emergency Management Agency Director Tommy Dunavant.

The line for vaccination at the health department, which is also the line for testing, has been incredibly long and is often backed up onto Mueller Brass Road.

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Those being tested for COVID are able to leave as soon as testing is over, but those being vaccinated have to wait at least 15 minutes while being monitored by staff. It’s been causing logistical problems.

“The line is backed up and you can’t let another car in,” said Dunavant. “We can get more shots in arms with a larger staging area.”

The park is located at the northwest corner of Bert Johnston Avenue and Hwy. 51 in Covington.

Beginning 1 p.m. Thursday, patients can receive their vaccine through a new two-lane distribution line. Dunavant said patients are to enter the park from Bert Johnston Avenue, turn right just before Baltzer Field and follow the line through the parking lot near the playground. After being cleared by medical staff, patients should exit to Hwy. 51 using what is commonly considered the entrance.

Signs will be posted to direct drivers.

Drive-thru testing will be conducted in the park on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30-11 a.m. Self-testing will still take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the health department from 8 a.m. to noon.

Vaccine has been replenished

In addition to efficiency for administering the vaccine, making appointments to receive it has been a huge source of frustration.

A week ago the call volume increased by 2,900 percent and caused phone lines to go down at both the health department and sheriff’s office.

This week the state launched a new online registration tool in addition to the local and regional phone lines. Dunavant said the regional appointment line serves 19 counties in West Tennessee.

Last week, the county ran out of vaccines but received another shipment Tuesday. The supply is limited.

Dunavant said the health department can take patient information and will schedule appointments when the vaccine supply has been replenished, but the department won’t know many doses are in its shipment until it arrives.

“They don’t know in advance. It could be 100, it could be 500.”

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