West Tennessee Healthcare discusses vaccine distribution, antibody treatments

JACKSON, Tenn. — Wednesday is the first day that there have been fewer than 100 COVID-positive patients hospitalized at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital since Thanksgiving.

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Amy Garner with West Tennessee Healthcare says the hospital system has vaccinated almost 7,000 people with their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Garner says 60 to 70 percent of people who have received their first dose through the hospital system have also received their second doses.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that what we are seeing right now is a result of the patients that are getting the infusions,” Garner said. “They are not getting as sick and they are not having to be hospitalized.”

Garner says if you can’t get your second vaccine dose within the allotted time frame– 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine– then your vaccination may not be as effective.

“It’s concerning when that happens because you don’t want to waste a dose, and if you’re getting that first dose, it’s only about 50 percent effective,” Garner said.

In addition, West Tennessee Healthcare has given almost 1,200 antibody infusions. Garner says only about 10 patients were hospitalized following those treatments.

“I’m hoping that between the vaccine and the antibodies and all of the other things we have talked about– masks, hand washing, social distancing– I’m hoping we’re making an impact, at least here in West Tennessee,” Garner said.

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Only a certain amount of vaccines are distributed to hospitals across the state, so West Tennessee Healthcare is waiting for their next turn, but they don’t know when they will get their next tray of vaccines.

“I would love to roll it out as quickly as possible, so we will see what happens with the new administration and the vaccine manufacturing process,” Garner said. “Hopefully we can get it out as soon as possible before spring.”

West Tennessee Healthcare is still planning to distribute second doses, with plans to vaccinate more than 1,000 people.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News
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