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'There's an awful lot of us' | More than 17,600 people on Knox County's vaccine waiting list as eligibility expands

KCHD said more than 1,400 people signed up between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday. Tennessee is now offering vaccines to those in Phase 1b, as well as people 65+.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn — Patricia St. Martin is struggling to get her shot. At 72 with an underlying condition, she's at high-risk for complications with COVID-19.

"Every time I've gone into the Knox County Health Department's website, it's been full. I'm on a waiting list," St. Martin said. "I've tried going into the University of Tennessee Medical Center's, it's always full. Same with Covenant and Tennova."

As of Monday at 1 p.m., the Knox County Health Department said its waiting list had more than 17,600 names. 

Spanish Version: Lista de espera para la vacuna en Condado de Knox ha registrado a más de 17,600 personas

That includes roughly 1,400 additional people who joined on Monday once eligibility expanded to those 65 and older, as well as in Phase 1b.

"I am frustrated... there is an awful lot of us who have yet to get even the first shot," St. Martin said. "What about us seniors? Where is the vaccine?"

RELATED: LIST: Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine in East Tennessee

KCHD said the waitlist is prioritized on a first-come, first-served basis among all the people who are eligible, but that they encourage community members to keep an eye out for other opportunities.

St. Martin said that's been difficult to do while working during the week.

"I can't sit there and wait," she said. "I'm 72 with an underlying medical condition and I'm supposed to be vaccinated."

Last week, the Tennessee Department of Health said it would expand eligibility because some areas of the state had already done so. To avoid confusion, KCHD followed suit.

"When the majority of counties start moving, it just makes sense for them to move into it," said Charity Menefee, director of environmental and communicable disease. "But, that means our Knox County citizens are going to have to be patient because we're one of the larger counties in the state."