The first COVID-19 vaccine was given December 22nd to Giles County Fire and Rescue volunteer Shane Armstrong.
The first phase, 1a1, includes first responders, home health care providers, student health care providers and staff members, and residents of group homes for the intellectually and developmentally disabled, in partnership with these organizations and their local community emergency management agencies.
The vaccine distributed on December 22nd was that of Moderna, and TDH Assistant Regional Director Janet McAlister of the South Central Regional Health Office explained how the vaccine works.
“These vaccines work by giving your body the recipe to make the protein that is on the outside of the coronavirus,” McAlister said. “When your body sees that protein, it will make protective antibodies to it. Later, if the body sees the real virus, it will remember seeing that protein and destroy the virus before it has a chance to make you sick.”
"Those who choose to receive the vaccine will receive a card with the date of their first dose, the name/manufacturer of the vaccine received, and the date on which they should receive their second dose,” she said. “Your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine must be from the same product name/manufacturer as your first dose. We recommend when you receive your card, take a picture as a back-up, add the date to your calendar and download the v-safe app. The v-safe app can remind you when it’s time to receive your second dose.”
County health departments are currently working to provide doses of the vaccine to group 1a1 at this time, and they will transition to 1a2 as they complete 1a1. Most people in Phase 1a1 will receive the vaccine through their employer or through events planned by their local or regional department of health.
The Tennessee Department of Health will provide data on COVID-19 vaccines administered in the state via a new dashboard online which will be updated every Tuesday and Friday.
McAlister said some who receive the vaccine may experience mild symptoms such as arm soreness or redness, fever, headache, chills, and fatigue, which typically last less than two days.