Health department officials discuss vaccination process
JACKSON, Tenn. — Health department officials say they don’t want to waste a drop of the COVID-19 vaccine, and that’s why local politicians have been able to get it sooner rather than later.
Since the COVID-19 vaccines rolled out in West Tennessee over a week ago, the hospital has administered over 3,000 doses, and the health department has administered almost 700.
“To us in the medical profession, this vaccine is gold. That’s how we treat it. It’s gold. We don’t want to waste a drop,” said Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department Director Kim Tedford.
Tedford says for that reason, two of those doses have gone to Mayors Scott Conger and Jimmy Harris.
“When we get to the end of a vaccination event, and you’re sitting there with a vial and you have one dose or two doses, six doses left in that vial, you better have a ‘B-list,'” Tedford said. “That’s what I call it, our B-list of people that can get to the facility within ten minutes to get that vaccine, or you’re going to waste it.”
“I just knew that when it was available I was going to take it, when I was going to get it. Regardless of what you saw in the paper, we didn’t skip line. We didn’t get in front of anybody. We were doing exactly what Kim and the hospital does as well,” Mayor Harris said.
Mayor Conger was not in Wednesday’s meeting.
On December 18, he tweeted a statement saying healthcare workers should be getting the vaccine before politicians.
Why are politicians getting the #COVID19Vaccine now? All of this first round of vaccines should be going to our healthcare and frontline workers. They are the ones who are putting their lives on the line, not politicians!
— Mayor Scott Conger (@MayorConger) December 18, 2020
“I made sure on the phone call that all the healthcare workers that were available had gotten the vaccine. Then I had all of 25 minutes to get from my house to the hospital to get the vaccine,” Mayor Conger said.
“We’re going to be doing that any day we roll out a mass clinic giving vaccines. We’re not going to waste a drop. We’ve been instructed by the state not to. If that means reaching out beyond that phase, reach out beyond that phase and get as many people as you can to come quickly and finish up that vial so none is wasted,” Tedford said.
In Madison County, if you’re 75 or older, you’ll be eligible to get the vaccine starting Monday. It is by appointment only, and you need to call the health department.
The health department says it has received a high volume of calls about getting an appointment. If you couldn’t get through, try calling back another time at (731) 423-3020.