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COVID-19 vaccines coming to Johnson County

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a constant topic throughout this year. After a year of counting infections and death tolls, news that could make a positive change has arrived. 
Johnson County is in the process of receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to County Mayor Mike Taylor at the Thursday, December 18 County Commission meeting, “we could be receiving it as early as next week.”
The Tennessee Department of Health reports it has received shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. According to the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office, Pfizer will go to health care workers, Moderna will go to first responders, and the public’s type has yet to be determined. Officials are focusing on the highest risk group at this point, frontline health workers. 
Tennessee, in particular, is at risk. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released information stating that Tennessee “is the worst in the country for new COVID-19 cases by population.” Data shows that, within the past week, Tennessee’s average case increase is 129.4 cases, which is 31 more than the next highest state. 
Mountain City and Johnson County have been preparing for the vaccine’s arrival. After considering multiple locations and vetoing them, they chose an empty lot across from Star LED as the tent site. Mayor Taylor announced that roadwork preparing the area was finished on December 18. A specific date for public vaccine release is still unknown. In the meantime, practice safety precautions such as washing your hands, wearing a mask, and social distancing. 
“As you know, COVID-19 is very serious and has greatly affected many in our community, even here in our workplace,” County Mayor Mike Taylor explained when canceling the county’s annual Christmas dinner. “I have had to make many tough decisions regarding the coronavirus and its effects on our community. These decisions are never taken lightly and are always made as to what I think is best for everyone.”
The Mountain City Council meets the first Tuesday of each month at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will be virtual. Find information on how to attend at mountaincitytn.org.
The Johnson County Commission meets the third Thursday of each month at the Johnson County Courthouse at 7 p.m. Find out more at johnsoncountytn.gov.