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First wave of Moderna Vaccine distribution

Johnson County Sheriff Eddie Tester receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last week. The vaccine was distributed to frontline health care workers and first responders.  Photo submitted

By Tamas Mondovics

The Johnson County Health Department (JCHD) has received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. “We are excited to receive these vaccines and see our COVID-19 vaccination activities underway in our community,” said Caroline Hurt Johnson County Health Department Director. “We’ve been preparing for months to distribute approved vaccines, and we believe this will be a safe and effective tool in the fight against COVID-19.”

Wasting no time, department staff members administered the Moderna vaccine to first responders, home health care providers, student health care providers, and group homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in partnership with these organizations and local community emergency management agencies. Members of the media were invited to Johnson County Industrial Park (165 Industrial Park Road, Mountain City, TN 37683) last Wednesday to observe the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine administration to Phase 1a1 individuals. Officials emphasized that initial supplies of the COVID-19 vaccines are limited. The first allocations of both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in Tennessee will be used to provide first vaccine doses to individuals qualifying for Phase 1a1, as detailed in the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for Tennessee.

Tennessee’s COVID-19 vaccination plan was last updated December 2, and will be modified as more is learned about the vaccines Tennessee will receive.It’s important to note these Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable; each patient must receive two doses of the same vaccine to be protected against COVID-19.

“Those who receive the vaccine will receive a card with the date of their first dose, the name/manufacturer of the vaccine received, and the date on which they should receive their second dose,” officials said.

Tennessee health officials also stated that the state’s plan for allocation of COVID-19 vaccine had been “thoughtfully developed with a focus on how best to serve our diverse populations and communities, and to ensure distribution of vaccination sites across all 95 counties, especially in rural areas and those with high concentrations of people in vulnerable populations.”

Tennessee’s local health departments continue to offer COVID-19 testing five days a week at no charge to those wishing to be tested. Since December 21, 2020, TDH testing sites across the state are reportedly employing self-testing kits for adults three days a week.

“This is to allow staff members to transition to vaccination of frontline health care providers and first responders,” Kristen Spencer with TDH said.

Testing hours and contact information for TDH health department testing sites can be found online