East Tennessee hospitals received the first shipments of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 17 and are making plans to get high-risk staff members vaccinated.
Covenant said in a press release that it will offer it to employees that are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19. The vaccine is voluntary for all staff members.
The vaccine will be available to employees at all Covenant Health acute care facilities, along with home health employees and those who work in long-term care facilities including:
- Claiborne Medical Center in Tazewell
- Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville
- Fort Loudoun Medical Center in Lenoir City
- Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville
- LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville
- Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge
- Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System in Morristown
- Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville
- Roane Medical Center in Harriman
Covenant anticipates receiving more vaccine doses in the future it will expand distribution to other staff members.
Covenant Health received the first shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 17.
As for side effects, officials said they have heard of patients experiencing a minor sore but they have not seen anything concerning.
Covenant Health said that there are no differences between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. But in order to achieve a full effect, both of them should be administered.
The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 and the Moderna vaccine are Messenger RNA vaccines (mRNA). This type of vaccine teaches your body how to make antibodies in order to protect it against COVID-19.
Covenant Health officials encourage people should still use masks and follow the 'Five Core Actions' until the immunity has been achieved across the community.
"It is a very exciting day for the doctors, nurses, and other team members at Tennova Healthcare!" said Ann Metz, spokesperson for Tennova in an email to the media.
Metz said the first shipment of 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was delivered at North Knoxville Medical Center on Thursday morning.
Tennova plans to start administering the vaccines to its frontline workers on Friday morning. Tennova employs approximately 4,000 team members across East Tennessee at several hospitals, including:
- North Knoxville Medical Center
- Turkey Creek Medical Center
- Jefferson Memorial Hospital
- LaFollette Medical Center
- Newport Medical Center.
UT Medical Center
UT also received it's first vaccine doses on Thursday morning. It will prioritize the workers in the hospital's COVID-19 unit, including doctors, nurses, and non-medical support staff.
The hospital started administering vaccines to nurses Thursday afternoon.