Regional supply appears plentiful as children’s COVID vaccination campaign begins | WJHL


JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee (WJHL) – Thousands of doses of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines are already being shipped to northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia, with a plentiful supply about to be available from ‘a wide range of suppliers.

Nearly 50 shots could go to guns Thursday at two sites in the Sullivan County Regional Health Office, with Kingsport Health Department up to 32 and Blountville up to 16.

Retail pharmacies appear to be among the fastest routes to making appointments in Tennessee’s Tri-Cities, with more than 1,500 appointments available at seven stores Wednesday afternoon. These begin Saturday at four Walgreens stores and Monday at three CVS locations.

Hundreds more are expected to go live by next week at pediatricians’ offices, schools (in Southwest Virginia), health departments, Ballad Health and several other vaccine partners.

“I don’t think there will be anyone who wants this vaccine in our Ballad area who cannot get it,” Ballad Health chief medical officer Dr Stephen Combs told News Channel 11. Ballad is in line for a first shipment of at least 800 doses from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH).

“I think as with all logistics and supply chains as we have seen with everything, although it is coming from here and not from abroad, I think the deployment of this will take about a week. “

Holston Medical Group (HMG) is online for 300 doses initially. Like Ballad, they will receive them directly from TDH.

“We hope we have this and be ready to schedule appointments and administer within the next two weeks,” said pediatrician and medical director Dr. Alicia Wright, while acknowledging that it could happen as soon as possible. next week.

HMG will schedule appointments as soon as it receives the vaccines and will already have slots available.

“We just didn’t distribute them to particular patients until we had the vaccine on hand and were ready to start these clinics,” Wright said.

HMG will post information on social media and its website “as soon as we are ready to schedule these date slots,” she said.

Like Combs, Wright said she didn’t expect a parent to have difficulty accessing a vaccine anywhere, whether with her pediatrician or elsewhere.

TDH medical director Dr Tim Jones has said he hopes adoption will be high because of the difference availability will make in the fight against the pandemic.

While allowing most children not to get very sick from COVID, Jones said a lot more was at stake.

“Even if they have a fairly mild illness, they could spread to parents, loved ones, to people who might be at very high risk, so it’s not just beneficial for the person getting the vaccine,” he said. Jones said.

Pharmacies get theirs directly from the federal government

Judging only by the availability of online appointments, retail pharmacies in northeast Tennessee appear to have a plentiful supply of the COVID-19 vaccine that has just been approved for children aged 5 to 11.

Pharmacies will start vaccinating on Saturday, in Walgreen’s case, but they are far from the only option for parents keen to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible.

From 600 doses just for the health departments of two rural health districts in Southwest Virginia to 300 doses for a large pediatric group and injections to a range of other providers, this phase of the immunization rollout appears to be due. get off to a flying start – if the demand is there.

Early Wednesday afternoon, nearly 1,300 appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds remained available for booking until November 12 only at four Walgreen sites – one each in Johnson City, Elizabethton, Kingsport and Bristol.

And three CVS locations, one in Johnson City and two in Kingsport, posted 459 appointments available for the first dose of Pfizer between November 8 and November 12. These are the only CVS locations in Tennessee in the Tri-Cities to offer the vaccine to younger people.

Signing up only takes a few minutes from Walgreen’s vaccination landing page, which you can reach HERE. Users can currently click on each day until November 12 and select the available appointments.

The CVS website also has a planning tool that begins with a two-question COVID screening. It is accessible HERE.

The appointment times are staggered by 15 minutes and extend throughout the day until the evening.

Through its Federal Retail Pharmacy program, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) delivers doses directly to participating pharmacies. Injections are free, although providers charge insurance for those who benefit.

Many partners in the southwest of VA

In southwest Virginia, the Lenowisco and Upper Cumberland health districts of southwest Virginia each received 300 child-sized doses, presented in 10-dose vials. A second shipment is expected to arrive Thursday for the districts, which include the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, Tazewell (Upper Cumberland) and Lee, Wise, Scott and the town of Norton (Lenowisco), said the county health official. population, Allie Phillips.

In addition, each of these districts has a pediatrician’s office who requested doses, as well as several family practice offices, federally approved health centers, and free clinics.

Schools and pharmacies are also joining the act, Phillips said. Each health district has 25 school clinics scheduled before the Thanksgiving vacation, with 900 total doses reserved – 400 in Lenowisco and 500 on the Cumberland Plateau.

In southwest Virginia, some pharmacies receive doses via VDH.

In the Mount Rogers Health District, Van Pelt Primary School in Bristol, Virginia will host a vaccination clinic on November 10 from 3 p.m. The system will also have a virtual town hall on Monday where local health experts will answer questions from parents.

What has been the demand for older children?

In the 12 to 15 age group, vaccines have been available since mid-May, and a total of 8,665 people had been vaccinated in that age group on Tuesday in northeast Tennessee.

In southwest Virginia, 4,390 were vaccinated along with 2,771 16 and 17 year olds. This represents 36.4% of the total population of this 12 to 17 year old age group in Southwest Virginia.

Vaccination percentages among 12 to 15 year olds vary widely in northeast Tennessee.

Washington County leads the way with nearly 46% of this age group having received at least one dose. Sullivan County is at 37.8% and Unicoi is the only other county above 30%, at 32.7%.

Two counties – Johnson at 18.4% and Hawkins at 22.7% – have rates less than half that of Washington County. Greene County’s rate is 29.6% and Carter’s 25.3%.

Ballad’s Combs said he was impressed by the number of young children who asked him when they could get the COVID shot.

“I am always amazed that, although we have seen a lot of hesitation from adults, children are like, ‘I’m tired of wearing a mask, I want to go to school, I want to play football, I’m going to get vaccinated so I can do it, ”or very benevolent,“ I don’t want to make my friends sick, ”Combs said.

“I want to play with my friend and they have a chronic illness, I would like to do something good for them. And it’s really, really encouraging to hear that from a 6 year old who comes in for his looks.

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