Common Questions about the Tennessee Department of Health COVID Vaccine Plan

Recently, officials with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) announced changes to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine plan.

Changes included the opportunity for people age 75 and older, along with educators, to be added to the list of those eligible to be vaccinated now.

Where individuals fall into phases of the TDOH plan are based on what they do professionally, such as front-line health care workers, their age and health status. The TDOH updates its directives periodically, which can bring adjustments to who is included in each phase.

The addition of these new groups has created confusion about who can be vaccinated and when. Complicating the public’s understanding of the vaccine’s availability is that many Tennessee counties are in different phases of the state’s plan.

While individuals age 75 and older (the first group approved to receive vaccine based on their age) may receive vaccine in one county already, it could be another month in a different county based on the county’s population and vaccine availability.

For example, in Davidson County, the plan is still in phase 1a1, which is primarily health care workers.  

Under the Tennessee Department of Health plan who can be vaccinated now?

Under the TDOH plan, who can be vaccinated now depends, in part, on the available supply of vaccine in a county and its population.

While Davidson County and Shelby County (Tennessee’s two largest counties by population) remain in phase 1a1, most other counties can vaccinate other groups if vaccine is available.

When does VUMC plan to start vaccinating its patients?

VUMC plans to start vaccinating its patients as soon as possible, following the TDOH plan.

Patients will be contacted through My Health at Vanderbilt with information about how they can schedule themselves to receive their 2 doses of vaccine.

Who are most other counties able to vaccinate now?

Most other counties can vaccinate individuals who fall into phases 1a1, 1a2, and those individuals who are age 75 and older.  

What groups are included in phase 1a1 of the TDOH plan?

Primarily, this group includes those at greatest risk for exposure to COVID-19: health care workers, individuals living in long-term care facilities and first responders.

Other groups in 1a1 include home health care staff, student health care providers, and individuals who cannot live independently due to serious chronic medical conditions or intellectual or developmental disabilities.  

What groups are included in phase 1a2 of the TDOH plan?

Other health care workers with direct patient exposure (those providing outpatient care). This group includes primary care providers and staff, those who do patient transports, outpatient therapists, environmental services, oral health providers, behavioral health providers, lab staff working with COVID specimens, and funeral and mortuary workers.

Who is included in phase 1b of the TDOH plan?

Educators, those who work in K-12 and childcare teachers and staff. This group also includes other first responders.  

What are the age groups in the TDOH plan and when does the state estimate these individuals may be vaccinated?

  • Ages 75 and older: January 2021 – estimated population of 448,000
  • Ages 65 and older: February - March 2021 – estimated population of 1.1 million
  • Ages 55 and older: Second quarter 2021 – estimated population 2 million
  • Ages 45 and older: Second or third quarter 2021 – estimated population 2.9 million
  • Ages 35 and older: Second or third quarter 2021 – estimated population 3.7 million
  • Ages 25 and older: Third quarter to fourth quarter 2021 – 4.7 million
  • Ages 16 and older: Third to fourth quarter 2021 – estimated population 5.4 million                  

Check the TDOH website for updates to the vaccination plan and other information.

Posted 1.5.2020