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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

TN and MS health leaders provide updates to statewide COVID-19 vaccination plans

TN updates priority list, MS announces 18 drive-thru vaccination sites starting next week for health care workers.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Wednesday, new updates emerged with the COVID-19 vaccination plans in two Mid-South states: Tennessee and Mississippi.

This comes as health experts balance prioritization and the available supply of doses. 

"We are just trying to be flexible and nimble with based on the things that we can control," Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said.

Starting Wednesday, in certain Tennessee counties health care workers, first responders and seniors in assisted living facilities were already vaccinated, doses will be administered for those 75 and older.

"There is a very distinct link between age and poor outcomes," Dr. Piercey said.

In the days ahead, Tennessee's health department website will launch tools updating what vaccine priority phase in different counties.

There will also soon be a eligibility tool to notify groups when their priority is eligible for a vaccine.

"You are not constrained to your county of residence, that's our general principle for all health departments," Dr. Piercey said.

Most TN counties are expected to do vaccines by appointment, depending on supply and demand of incoming doses.

Click here, for more information about the updates in Tennessee's vaccine process. 

In Mississippi, state health experts announced starting next week, 18 drive-thru locations will offer vaccines to health care workers, including in North Mississippi locations of DeSoto, Lee, Panola and Lafayette counties.

The sites will provide the vaccine doses at two different days during the week, with 210 appointment daily slots available at each location across the Magnolia State.

"We are going to have a much better idea on uptake and what the demand for vaccinations is going to be in the healthcare community is going to be next week," Mississippi State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said.

As of Wednesday, Mississippi had received around 120,000 doses and administered more than 17,000 doses.  

Health experts expect administered doses will accelerate soon, as more of those at CVS and Walgreens provide the vaccine at assisted living facilities statewide.

"Certainly everyone is going to have a turn as we roll this out and we are going to do that as quickly as we can. Today, as of now, our focus is on those healthcare workers and those long term care settings."

For more information on the drive-thru vaccine locations, appointments and additional information, click here.