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University of Tennessee vaccinating students, staff and the public

Dr. Spencer Gregg, director of the student health center, said they're aiming to do a couple thousand vaccinations a week.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — At the University of Tennessee Knoxville, demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is high. And now, everyone 16 and older is eligible.

"The clinics [are] filling up very rapidly," said Dr. Spencer Gregg, director of UT's student health center and incident commander for its pandemic response plan. "Students, faculty and staff have all been very responsive to signing up for these events. And essentially, we've been full at each event that we've opened."

Each day, the UT Student Health Center is able to vaccinate up to 200 people. They've mainly been using the Moderna vaccine for those opportunities.

Once a week, UT hosts a clinic open to the public with up to 1,100 available appointments. Eventually, the university hopes that means they can do "a couple thousand" shots every single week.

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

"So much of that is really dependent on how much vaccine gets allocated to us," Dr. Gregg said. "But, we're prepared to go to that level."

So far, the university has administered nearly 8,000 shots. It isn't mandatory, but they're hoping for 100 percent participation among students and staff.

"For our faculty, staff, and students, it doesn't matter to us where you get the vaccine, we just want you to get it," Dr. Gregg said. "We're just encouraging 100% participation."

UT is reaching out to students living on campus first for those on-campus vaccination appointments, as well as to staff members who haven't been able to get vaccinated yet. 

Dr. Gregg said he hopes people will take advantage of that opportunity, as well as the ones in surrounding areas.

"The vaccination is the one thing that helps us get back to a pre-COVID lifestyle," he said. "The more people that get vaccinated, the more readily that we can get back to doing the things that we're accustomed to doing and that we would prefer to be doing."