The Tennessee Department of Health has published an updated list of counties with available COVID vaccines. According to the report, Blount, Anderson, Sevier, Union and other East Tennessee counties have doses available.
At most locations, only those over the age of 75 and those in the first phase of the state's reopening plan are eligible. This includes first responders, most healthcare workers and those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The state's health department is operating an East Tennessee Regional COVID Vaccination Hotline at (865) 549 - 5343 to make appointments at county health clinics. However, those seeking appointments may need to call multiple times. As of Monday afternoon, all calls were being rejected due to high call volume.
The Knox County Health Department is run separately from the state's Department of Health and is not currently taking vaccine appointments. When appointments do open up, the number to call will be (865) 215-5555.
The 500 first-come-first-serve spots at Knox County Health Department’s first public vaccine clinic on Saturday, January 2, were full within 45 minutes. On Monday, the county opened vaccine appointments during the week to the public but these were completely booked within hours. The health department says there will be many more opportunities to be vaccinated in the coming weeks and months.
Both vaccines authorized for emergency use require two doses to be fully effective. Knox County Health Department’s Dena Mashburn says they are using automated phone calls and a smartphone app to update people on their second doses.
“Everybody that we are seeing is entered into our electronic health records system and we will be sending out phone reminders. It’s a call system that will be sending out phone reminders," Mashburn said. "The other opportunity is everybody is given as they come in a way to register on a site that’s called V-safe."
The CDC’s V-safe tool which Knox County is using also allows people to report any negative reaction to the vaccines.