Vaccine Scene: Long lines, short supplies lead to frustrations

Despite showing up early, many locals aged 75 and older left without getting the COVID-19 vaccination on Saturday due to short supplies. (File Photo)

LOCAL NEWS — This past Saturday marked the first date citizens throughout the state could receive the Tennessee Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine and things were kind of a mess everywhere.

In nearby Tullahoma, citizens 75 and older could be seen lining the streets of Wilson Avenue as early at 7 a.m. in 40 degree temperatures waiting their turn to get vaccinated. The debacle made national news.

In Moore County, local senior citizens lined up well before the 8 a.m. start time as well but thanks to quick thinking by local officials, they remained in their vehicles instead of braving the elements.

“We knew our older citizens would show up early and we tried to anticipate that,” says Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis. “This is the age group that survived polio. They know what it’s like to watch a deadly virus sweep across the country.”

Despite their best efforts, some citizens who showed up on Saturday still walked away empty handed. The local health department ran out of doses before 2 p.m. — so did Coffee, Grundy, and Franklin counties.

“No health department anywhere got sufficient supplies of the vaccine for the numbers that showed up to be vaccinated,” Mayor Lewis says.

Mayor says vaccinations will be drive thru moving forward

The press release the state department of health issued on Wednesday stated that vaccinations would be given on a “first-come, first-served” basis and without an appointment leaving local health care workers trying to accommodate both those who just showed up as well as those who called ahead.

“It’s important to realize that health care workers remain the state-defined vaccination priority,” said Mayor Lewis. “No matter when they show up, they move to the front of the line.”

Moving forward, Mayor Lewis says that all future vaccination days will take place in Wiseman Park so that drive thru vaccinations can be offered without congesting local traffic.

Mayor Lewis also says that health officials are developing a pre-registration process to help public vaccination dates run more smoothly in the future. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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