KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knox County Health Department started vaccinating people with appointments from its waitlist at its new North Knoxville location on Friday.
KCHD plans to use the old Food City site on Broadway five days a week for the near future. It hopes to vaccinate 800 to 1,000 people each day there.
Officials said that there were more than 32,000 entries on their waitlist this week and that the number grew by several thousand entries after eligibility expanded to Phase 1c. People 65 years old and over can receive the vaccine under the new phase, as well as people with high-risk health conditions.
Those high-risk comorbidities include diabetes, asthma, cancer, obesity, pregnant women, as well as caretakers of medically frail children.
Household contacts of pregnant women were also formally added to the eligibility list, as well as people with progressive neuromuscular disorders. People with Down Syndrome are also eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1c.
The Knox County Health Department, with the Knox County Commission's approval, began this month leasing the old grocery store for six months. It will act as a central and focused location where the department can administer vaccines safely and quickly.
Officials said they selected the location because it had a lot of parking and the location's layout would allow people to flow through the building safely.
"Basically, it's a home where we could put a lot of people through there and not have to schedule on someone else's schedule," Director Martha Buchanan said during an earlier meeting.
It is located at 4216 North Broadway and has nearly 47,000 square feet of space. The health department will lease the store at least through Aug. 31. They leased it at $5,700 a month, officials said.
Currently, the Knox County Health Department gives out some vaccines at its headquarters on Dameron Avenue.