NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee gave an update on Tennessee’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, saying he has been in contact with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.
Lee said vaccine distribution has been the state’s primary focus for the past few weeks. The governor said they’re continuing with a phased approach to distribution and are now including those 75 and older, saying patients in that age group make up 50% of COVID hospitalizations and deaths.
Lee also said that he, along with other governors, had a call with the Biden transition team on Thursday about the state’s pandemic response.
“As the Biden administration prepares to take the helm, we [have] begun to work together. We started this process [of advocating for Tennessee] I look forward to working together to make sure we get the best outcomes for Tennesseans that are consistent with our policies that we think are best for the people of our state,” Lee said.
Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey also spoke during the update and said 215,000 Tennesseans have already been vaccinated — that’s 3% of the population. Piercey said compared to other states, Tennessee is doing well on its number of vaccinations, as well as the percentage of available supply that’s been administered.
Piercey said the supply of the vaccines continues to be the biggest issue.
“Our goal, we can’t control the supply, so we order every single dose that is made available to us as soon as it is made available, and our goal is to get it in an arm as soon as it gets into the state,” Piercey said.
Piercey also said 96,000 doses of the vaccine are going to long term care facilities as part of the federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens. She said vaccinations at assisted living facilities will begin next week.
Anyone 65 and older was also encouraged to contact their health care provider as soon as they’re diagnosed with the virus and inquire about receiving monoclonal antibodies, which can reduce your chances of being admitted to the hospital.
Listen to the full briefing below: