A Tennessee Department of Health spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that the Williamson County Health Department is anticipating it may receive its first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-December, after which the vaccine will be distributed in phases to different demographics based on certain risk factors.
Developed by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the specific COVID-19 vaccine that will soon be in the hands of Tennessee health officials was revealed to the public on Nov. 9, and was found through clinical trials to be "more than 90% effective in preventing [the contraction of] COVID-19."
On Nov. 17, it was announced that Tennessee would become one of only four states to take part in a pilot program for the vaccine.
"As of now, we anticipate we may receive our first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Tennessee by mid-December," wrote Tennessee Department of Health spokesperson Shelley Walker in an email on Tuesday.
"It will be distributed in phases to populations prioritized based on their risk of contracting and spreading the virus, as well as their risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19."
The order in which the vaccine will be distributed to the general population is planned to be as follows:
- Frontline Healthcare Workers
- Other healthcare workers (outpatient)
- High-risk comorbidities / older adults in congregate care
- K-12, child care staff / moderate-risk comorbidities / congregate care / older adults / critical infrastructure
- Young adults / children / industry
- All others
Walker noted that the order in which the vaccine will be distributed to different demographics is subject to change as the state health department learns more about the vaccine.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will primarily be manufactured in Kalamazoo, Mi., and will be transported utilizing both road and air modes of transportation. The vaccine must also remain at a temperature of around -100°F, a crutch that has led some to predict that its distribution will be a "logistical nightmare."