The Tennessee Department of Health announced on December 14 that the state has received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine ahead of statewide shipment today. The state obtained an early shipment of 975 doses to hold as an emergency backup supply should any receiving hospital’s supply be damaged.
The Tennessee Department of Health, along with other state and local agencies submitted Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on October 16, 2020. TDH developed this plan after review of the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdictional Operations, the recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine, and in consultation with Tennessee’s Unified Command Group and a stakeholder group of 30 partner agencies and offices. The plan was updated December 2, and is subject to change given private sector dynamics and decision-making at the federal level.
To date, there are more than 250 approved COVID-19 vaccine providers for Phase 1a in Tennessee.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended on December 1, that the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program, Phase 1a, should be offered to health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
Tennessee’s vaccination plans list hospital and free standing emergency department staff with direct patient exposure and or exposure to potentially infectious materials, home care staff, COVID 19 mass testing site staff, student health providers, staff and residents of long term care facilities and first responders with direct public exposure in phase 1a1. Tennessee added first priority to those fitting in categories that include 65 years old or older, cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, solid organ transplant, obesity with a BMI of 30 or greater, serious cardiac disease, sickle cell disease and diabetes.
Tennessee’s phase 1a2 will include other health care workers with direct patient exposure including primary care providers and staff, outpatient specialty providers and staff working with acute patients, pharmacists and staff, patient transport, outpatient therapists, urgent visit center providers and staff, environmental services, oral health providers and behavioral health providers. The first priority categories also apply in phase 1a2.
Phase 2 will include critical infrastructure workers, K-12 teachers, school staff and child care workers, all ages with comorbid/underlying conditions with moderate risk (one condition), healthy individuals who are 65 years old or older, congregate care residents and staff and corrections residents and staff. First priority will be given to those who are 65 years old or older in all of the phase 2 categories.
Phase 3 includes young adults, children, workers in industries/entites important to society and with higher risk of exposures such as universities, entertainment, and goods-producing industries.
Phase 4 will include anyone else who has not already been vaccinated.
View the full Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan HERE.
With the Emergency Use Authorization issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommendations released by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices or ACIP, Tennessee anticipates receipt of 56,550 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week. Vaccines should be shipped on Wednesday for delivery to 28 sites covering 74 Tennessee hospitals on Thursday, December 17. Tennessee expects a second shipment of 56,500 doses of this vaccine approximately three weeks later. Pfizer will ship the vaccine directly to health care facilities.
“We have been preparing for months to distribute approved vaccines and we believe this will be a safe and effective tool in the fight against COVID-19,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Our initial supplies of this vaccine are limited, but we are in constant contact with hospitals to prepare administration for our front-line health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff who choose to receive it.”
The first and second Pfizer vaccine shipments will be used to provide first and second vaccine doses to individuals qualifying for Phase 1a1, as detailed above from the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for Tennessee. This plan was last updated December 2 and will be modified as more is learned about the vaccines Tennessee will receive.