TDH Expands Access to COVID-19 Vaccination in Rural and Underserved Areas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health is expanding access to COVID-19 vaccination with a particular focus on rural and underserved areas. TDH is partnering with pharmacies and community health clinics to add more than 100 new vaccination sites across the state. Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan remains focused on equity to ensure those with limited access to health care resources will be able to receive vaccinations when they meet eligibility criteria outlined in the plan.
“We’re eager to launch these partnerships to help bring the vital resource of COVID-19 vaccines to Tennesseans in communities most vulnerable to serious and lasting social and economic challenges due to the pandemic,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP.
“These pharmacies and clinics are easily accessible to Tennesseans who have barriers to receiving health care, like lack of transportation or health insurance,” Piercey continued. “We’re bringing COVID-19 vaccines to familiar and convenient locations for residents of these communities to receive their vaccinations.”
These new COVID-19 vaccination sites include 24 federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and community health centers, 64 local pharmacies and 20 chain pharmacies with many sites in some of Tennessee’s most vulnerable counties. These locations will follow the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, administering vaccinations to residents in current eligible phases of the county in which the clinic or pharmacy is located. All vaccinations are to be given at no charge to the recipient.
These added COVID-19 vaccination sites are distributed across 51 counties covering every grand division of the state. COVID-19 vaccine supplies remain limited, and availability of vaccines varies by county and provider. These providers and facilities are expected to receive COVID-19 vaccines this week, and will handle their own scheduling processes for administering vaccinations.
TDH’s allocation of COVID-19 vaccine to provider partners is designed to ensure the most equitable and accessible distribution of scarce vaccine resources throughout the state, with a focus on Tennesseans most at risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19. Clinics now offering COVID-19 vaccine through this expansion effort are part of the state’s Safety Net serving particularly vulnerable or underserved populations, and will focus their COVID-19 vaccination efforts on their patient populations. These clinics will be reaching out to their patients as they become eligible for vaccination per Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.
Tennessee counties may progress through COVID-19 vaccination phases at different times depending on supplies of vaccines. Tennesseans can learn what phase of the vaccination plan they’re in at https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility/.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.
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