TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Nineteen West Tennessee counties have opened vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 years of age and older. Shelby County will expand to all of-age residents on Friday.
Those 19 counties are all under the Tennessee Department of Health and all made the move to 16 and older eligibility on Tuesday. Some rural areas have seen a drop off in demand. So now that eligibility has opened up, the work begins to get people to come out.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” said Tipton County EMA Director Tommy Dunavant.
“I’ve been waiting for them to do that because it wasn’t my age. I just qualified,” said Olivia Johns, who was vaccinated Wednesday in Covington.
Dunavant hopes the new phase brings out more people. Something promising, a line at Covington’s public vaccinations site as it opened Wednesday afternoon.
“People are contacting me saying my wife got an appointment and she wouldn’t have been eligible until yesterday. So I know it’s happening,” said Dunavant.
“I was waiting and waiting and I was hoping they’d hurry up and get our age in there,” said Johns.
Dunavant said demand has gone down. At its peak, the Covington site was vaccinating about 550 people a day. Wednesday they were expecting about 200.
In other areas of West Tennessee, TDH has said, only 20 percent of appointments are getting filled. While Dunavant said that’s not happening in Tipton County, he knows there’s still a large task at hand.
“Bottom line is we need to get vaccine in arms of people who want it and have been waiting for it,” said Dunavant.
To find vaccine appointments across the state click HERE.