One year later: Impact of COVID-19 vaccine in Madison County

JACKSON, Tenn. — The first Tennessean was vaccinated exactly a year ago Thursday, and since then thousands of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The amount of vaccine that we had was very limited, and so now vaccine is readily available,” said Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department Public Information Officer Mallory Cooke. “We’ve got Moderna, Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine here at our office, and plenty of supplies.”

When vaccines were first introduced, people like healthcare workers or those who are immunocompromised were eligible. Now, anyone over the age five can get vaccinated.

“We were following the state vaccination plan and we were vaccinating who was eligible at that point, but now everybody five and older is eligible to get vaccinated, so that’s a huge percentage of the population and we’re really excited that everyone five and older is eligible for vaccination,” Cooke said.

More than 140,000 people in Madison County have received at least one dose of the vaccine. And 59% of the population are fully vaccinated, making Madison County one of the most vaccinated counties in the state.

“The vaccine is incredibly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and death,” Cooke said. “If you get online and look at those numbers, you’ll see the majority of people hospitalized are unvaccinated individuals.”

Since we were first introduced to COVID-19, multiple variants have mutated from the virus, including the delta and omicron variants. Although there hasn’t been a case of the omicron variant in Madison County, Cooke says the best thing you can do is protect yourself and get vaccinated.

“If people are not vaccinated, the virus COVID-19 is able to spread,” Cooke said. “It mutates and that’s how new variants come about, so if people are vaccinated, protected, they’re not getting COVID.”

If you’d like to get vaccinated in Madison County, the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department is accepting walk-ins every weekday. For more information, click here.

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