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Tennessee To Receive 115,000 Doses Of Moderna Vaccine Next Week


Tennessee is planning to receive 115,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 next week, pending emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

They’ll be shipped to health departments in all 95 counties across the state and will be more accessible than the Pfizer vaccine since they require only a deep freezer for storage. Tennessee plans to distribute 10% of the Moderna vaccine across all counties equally, and 85% will be allocated based on population. The remaining 5% will be held back by the state to target areas with high social vulnerability.

Gov. Bill Lee said in a call with reporters Wednesday that this is “a very hopeful moment in what has been an otherwise tragic pandemic in our state.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the state receiving its first single box of the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech, which is being held by the state in case of spoilage. Another 56,500 doses are expected to arrive at locations across the state Thursday, according to a senior administration official.

Twenty-eight locations across Tennessee were chosen to receive that first round of inoculations for use. They’ll serve 74 hospital staffs, or about two-thirds of the state’s hospitals. The remaining 40 or so hospitals will have at least some access to the Moderna vaccine next week. However, even after the anticipated Moderna and Pfizer shipments are fully used, less than half of people in the highest priority groups will be protected — and they’ll still need a second dose.

Lee also stressed the importance of people getting the vaccine once its more widely available. He has said multiple times that vaccinations will be optional. But, he said, when the end of the pandemic occurs will depend on the public getting vaccinated.

Alexis Marshall is the 2018 fall reporting intern at Nashville Public Radio. She is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University.