By Mark Darnell
There has been some concern over how and when the new Covid-19 vaccine will be dispersed and given to people here in Macon County.
Late in 2020 Gov. Bill Lee and the TN State Health Department published a 52 page outline of the ‘Covid-19 Vaccination’ plan for the state. This plan included a graphic outlining ‘classes’ of individuals and when they would be provided the opportunity to get the vaccine. A copy of this graphic can be found on page 13 of the report and is included in this article.
It is important to note that time frames are fluid. Vaccine will be available to disperse only when it becomes available in Macon County.
‘The Macon County Chronicle’ has fielded calls from the general public asking about these shots. How can the nursing homes not get vaccinated before the general public or teachers? How do I know when a shot is available? How will they get in touch with me if I want to get the shot?
First of all, all members of the 1a1 classification that are workers or residents of ‘long term care facilities’ (The Palace, White House, and Knollwood) have been totally segregated within another pipeline to get their vaccinations. The state and federal government have contracted with CVC and Walgreens to provide shots to those facilities. They will only be available when the Walgreens here in Lafayette has them.
Speaking to people at both The Palace and Knollwood, they are tentatively scheduled to receive shots on Jan 5th (The Palace) and Jan 12th (Knollwood/White House). It is our understanding that staff will be inoculated first, then residents. It has been suggested that if someone has already had the Covid-19 virus, they wait at least 90 days before taking a shot.
Because the shots for the nursing homes are available in an entirely different pipeline, the doses of the vaccine available at the Macon County Health Department are to be disseminated down the categories in the vaccination plan to the rest of the public.
An employee of Macon Community Hospital indicated that they received enough shots to vaccinate all their employees the last week of 2020.
The last week of the year the Macon County Health Department had approximately 175 doses to give to the next category of people. Approximately 100 were administered to the Macon County School System and then approximately 75 were administered on Sat Jan 2nd.
But this begs the question, how would a person 75 or older knew that there were shots available?
“People think that they are going to be contacted as to when their shot is available and that is not how we are going to proceed,” Health Department Director Matt Tuck said. “On Saturday (Jan 2nd) we had about 100 people come in for 75 doses. The people that we couldn’t vaccinate we put on a list to contact when we get the next round of doses.”
Tuck indicated that people should call the Macon County Health Department at 615-666-2142, to get on a list to be contacted for a vaccine. The public should follow the rough outlines of the vaccination chart as to when they will be available. For example in January they will be open to individuals 75 and older and in February it will drop to 65 and older. Don’t call now if you aren’t 75.
Once the doses are available in Macon County, the Health Department will work down the list to let you know when you can come in for the shot.
While we realize that one life is no more important than another, in order to disperse these vaccinations there has to be some type of order. Because there have been more Covid-19 deaths in those people 75 and older, it makes sense that they get shots first. People with professions that have a high contact rate with other humans should also be given some higher priority.
Everyone hopefully will be given the chance to get a Covid-19 shot if they want one. However it will take time, and probably some mistakes, in order to work through our population.
Please give the system time to work and hopefully communication will be the key to getting Covid-19 behind us in 2021.