COVID-19 Vaccines available to everyone starting April 5.

On March 22, 2021, Governor Bill Lee announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be available to everyone 16 and older no later than April 5. As of March 29, 2021. As of March 28, 2, 583, 957 Tennesseans reported their vaccination to the Tenn. Department of Health, and 21.56 percent of people statewide have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

  While most counties in Tennessee had already opened up eligibility to all over 16, Davidson, Hamilton and Shelby County have phases 1a-2b open and varying age availability. To check your county’s status visit https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/covid-19-vaccine-information.html

This means that, if they don’t already live in a county where they are eligible, college and high school students should be able to get the vaccine. Currently, the majority of vaccinated Tennessee residents are 61-80 years old with 16–30-year-olds making up 8.92 percent of the vaccinated population, and understandably so since the risks for serious cases and death are higher. According to the CDC website, compared to 5–17-year-olds, those 50 and up have over double the risk for hospitalization and the risk for death in those 75-84 years old are 2800 times more likely to die as a result of COVID-19 and COVID-19 complications.

Luckily, enough of the people in those demographics, including younger age demographics with high-risk medical conditions, have already completed the vaccine allowing for it to become more available to those with a lower risk of hospitalization or death.

Currently only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those who are 16 and older, and both Moderna and Johnson and Johnson are available for those 18 and older, so you might want to consider which vaccine you want before signing up for your appointment. It may be easier, if you are 18 and older, to get an appointment for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson rather than the Pfizer once this level of eligibility is open.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna are given in two doses which is important to take into account when planning your appointments. While all may not experience side effects, it is important to be well informed when making decisions about your health.  

To register for a COVID-19 vaccine in Tennessee, you can visit https://vaccinate.tn.gov/ or you can register with your county specifically. 

For more information about the Moderna vaccine visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Moderna.html, for Pfizer https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html, and Johnson and Johnson https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/janssen.html.

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