There are just 7 days left in the year, but by the time the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, Tennessee health officials hope to have vaccinated 200,000 people.
Monday, health officials announced they had released their emergency stockpiles of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines putting a combined 10,000 doses into circulation. The state also learned it would be getting an unexpected shipment of 40,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“There cannot be a number that’s too good. I mean, we have to go for as much as we can get,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Memorial Hospital.
Health officials are forecasting 70 to 80 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.
“If you’re not immune, you’re around enough people who are that the virus can’t get to you,” Threlkeld said.
The state is currently giving frontline healthcare workers priority for the vaccine but said Monday that their distribution plans are constantly being re-evaluated.
While they ultimately hope to vaccinate as many people as possible, they are also taking deliberate steps to avoid vaccinating everyone at once in case there are unforeseen side effects.