The Tennessee Department of Health expected Tennessee to receive its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last week.
Tennessee was slated to receive an initial allocation of a total of 115,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine over the next two weeks, following Emergency Use Authorization issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommendations released by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been shipped for delivery to all 95 Tennessee county health departments. Smaller hospitals that are not receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were expected to receive Moderna vaccine this week.
The FDA recently announced vials of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which are labeled as containing five doses, may include enough of the vaccine to provide six or possibly seven doses. FDA has announced these additional doses may be used, meaning Tennessee may have as many as 11,000 more doses of this vaccine to provide than originally expected.
“We are excited to receive these additional vaccines and see our COVID-19 vaccination activities underway,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Tennessee county health department staff members will administer the Moderna vaccine to first responders, home health care providers and student health care providers in partnership with these organizations and their local community emergency management agencies.”
While the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that arrived in Tennessee was earmarked only for frontline hospital health care workers, the Moderna vaccine will also be available to first responders, long-term care facility residents and staff, home health providers, student health providers.
It is important to note these Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable; each patient must receive two doses of the same vaccine to be protected against COVID-19. Those who choose to receive the vaccine will receive a card with the date of their first dose, the name/manufacturer of the vaccine received and the date on which they should receive their second dose.
“Tennessee’s plan for allocation of COVID-19 vaccine has been thoughtfully developed with a focus on how best to serve our diverse populations and communities, and to ensure distribution of vaccination sites across all 95 counties, especially in rural areas and those with high concentrations of people in vulnerable populations,” Piercey said.
Tennessee’s COVID-19 vaccination plan was last updated Dec. 2 and will be modified as more is learned about the vaccines Tennessee will receive.
Tennessee’s local health departments continue to offer COVID-19 testing five days a week at no charge to those wishing to be tested. Find testing hours and contact information for TDH health department testing sites online here.