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People look outside Knox County for COVID-19 vaccines due to long lines, lack of appointments

"We've all been sitting in our house now for nine months so the sooner the better," said one person looking for a chance to get vaccinated.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Long lines and the lack of appointment availabilities to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Knox County is forcing some people to look elsewhere.

It is okay for those in the current vaccination group to cross county lines. Currently, the vaccine is available to people who are at least 75 years old. 

While the COVID-19 vaccines have made their way into Knox County, getting one has proven to take time and patience. 

"We've all been sitting in our house now for nine months so the sooner the better," said Susan Williams, who had been waiting for the opportunity to get the vaccine.

Eager to get it, she began looking elsewhere. She said she started searching for places she could get the vaccine in other counties and found she could book an appointment in Cocke County.

So she took a road trip and within minutes had her first dose of the vaccine. 

"I was out in 12 minutes, never left my car which was great," she said. "Had my shot and had to wait ten minutes just to make sure I wasn't having an allergic reaction and then I was on my way back to Knoxville."

Bill Williams had a similar experience in Anderson County. He was able to book an appointment with their health department. 

"It was very important for me to get the vaccine because I'm in a high-risk group. I'm 86 years old, I have one kidney, diabetes," he said. 

And just like Susan, a short drive out of the county made for a quick and easy appointment. 

"Gave me the shot while I'm in my car," he said. "It was so convenient, so handy. I got my shot, sat there for 15 minutes to make sure I'm okay, and came home."

Now, having received their first dose, both say they feel relieved, especially since they are both at a higher risk for COVID-19.

"It was a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders. I thought, 'Wow, I'm on my way to fight the virus,'" said Bill. 

"I feel like it's a real relief to have the vaccine," said Susan. 

If you do get a vaccine out of the county, you will have to go back to that same county to get the second dose. 

The state has launched an online tool to help people find available appointments.