In advance of the arrival of the vaccine in Tennessee, we wanted to share information with you about the expected timeline, available resources, and frequently asked questions.
In October, Tennessee’s State Pandemic Vaccination Plan was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for review. This draft plan was informed by the NASEM Framework, the CDC Playbook, as well as weeks of robust stakeholder conversation. The updated draft Pandemic Vaccination Plan can be found in the picture below.
Similar to guidance published throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department also has a Frequently Asked Questions document on the vaccine, which will be updated frequently throughout the vaccine allocation process as more information becomes available. This document can be found at this link which will be automatically updated: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/COVID-19_Vaccine_FAQ.pdf
Perhaps the most frequent question that we hear is when the general public can expect to be able to receive the vaccine. While the State does not have exact timeframes at this point, they can share the anticipated phases of allocation. While these phases are subject to change, the graphic below illustrates what is best anticipated:
It is Tennessee’s expectation that the first allocation of the Pfizer vaccine should arrive in mid-December, following approval of the Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They believe the Moderna vaccine will follow quickly behind the Pfizer vaccine. The initial allocation will be provided to Phase 1a individuals (frontline health care workers and first responders). The anticipated receipt of vaccines will be on a rolling basis. The state will continue to provide the vaccine to individuals according to a phased roll-out as vaccines become available.
Tennessee knows that another common question that may be asked is whether the vaccine is safe. Tennessee shares this concern, as the safety and efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine is critically important. The good news is that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines show excellent early efficacy in preventing COVID-19. Following the FDA’s extensive review of the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine, the FDA will determine in collaboration with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations to the CDC. In order to be approved for use, the vaccine must reduce infection by at least 50%, and must not cause significant adverse events in those who receive it. This multi-vetted approach is consistent with previous immunization trials to date, and maximizes safety for vaccines entering the market. More information from the CDC on ensuring vaccine safety can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety.html
While there is great news on the vaccine front, it is critical that Tennesseans continue to adhere to public health recommendations to physically distance, wear a face covering, wash hands frequently, get tested if exposed or symptomatic, and self-quarantine or self-isolate when exposed to or diagnosed with infection.