COVID-19 Advisory Memos

Header graphic of latest report on hospitalization and masking

Advisory Memos on the COVID-19 Response

The Department of Health Policy in March 2020 convened a group of experts to offer guidance and curated reviews of current research and data related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These materials are intended for use by public health professionals and officials, and may be shared with attribution.

The materials were distributed regularly during the height of the pandemic. Regular releases and analyses ended in late 2021 as a significant portion of the population became vaccinated or had wide access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Use the collapsible menus below to explore the full library of resources.


  • COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Vaccinations in regions of Tennessee. New report as of Aug. 19, 2021.


    Aug. 26, 2021

    Here is a look at hospitalizations statewide and in regions of the state, as well as an updated heat map of new COVID-19 vaccinations by age and region, per 100,000 population.

    chart showing covid hospitalizations in tennessee as of aug. 26 2021heat map of new covid vaccinations week over week by age group per 100,000 population in tennessee

    Aug. 19 Update

    Regional heat maps showing more vaccinations in west tennessee for covid 19 since early july.

    ​While vaccinations are increasing, so too are hospitalizations. In fact, they're increasing at the fastest rate the state has seen since the start of the pandemic. There is also a similar increase in ICU bed use and ventilator use. 

    a three-tile heat map showing increases and decreases in hospitalizations, ICU bed use and ventilator use during the covid19 pandemic in tennessee.


    New cases are also increasing compared week-over-week by age. What is seen here is steep increases in cases among younger Tennesseans, most of whom are not vaccinated at all or not fully vaccinated.

    a heat map showing week-over-week changes in new covid19 cases by age in regions of tennessee

    ​When viewed cumulatively over time since the start of the pandemic, you see in the bottom panel an inverse relationship between age and cumulative infections: the highest rates of documented COVID-19 cases (per 100,000 population) are concentrated among younger age groups that are less likely to be vaccinated. 

    The following charts show the cumulative reported COVID-19 cases by age group per 100,000 population and statewide vaccine recipients by age group per 100,000 population since March 1, 2020 through Aug. 18, 2021.

Social Distancing, Quarantine and Isolation: Know the Difference

The COVID-19 Health Policy Advisory Panel includes:


Muktar Aliyu, MD, DrPH, MPH

Professor of Health Policy and Associate Director for Research, Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health


Shari Barkin, MD, MSHS

William K. Warren Foundation Chair in Medicine; Marian Wright Edelman Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Division of General Pediatrics, Monroe Carrel Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt


Melinda Buntin, PhD

Mike Curb Professor of Health Policy and Chair, Department of Health Policy


Ellen Wright Clayton, MD, JD

Craig-Weaver Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Law, Professor of Health Policy

John Graves, PhD

Associate Professor, Dept. of Health Policy

Director, Vanderbilt Center for Health Economic Modeling

Khrysta Baig, MSPH

Doctoral Student,

Dept. of Health Policy



Kathy Edwards, MD

Sarah H. Sell and Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Pediatrics and Professor of Pediatrics


Marie Griffin, MD, MPH

Professor of Health Policy, Director of the Vanderbilt University Master of Public Health Program


Carlos Grijalva, MD, MPH

Associate Professor of Health Policy


Melissa McPheeters, PhD

Research Professor, Health Policy, Co-Director, Center for Improving the Public’s Health through Informatics

Other contributors include:

Adriana Bialostozky, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Kecia Carroll, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Kevin W. Graepel, Ph.D., MD 2020 candidate, Medical Scientist Training Program

·     Laura Keohane, PhD, Assistant Professor of Health Policy

Keith Meador, MD, ThM, MPH, is Professor of Psychiatry and Health Policy, Co-Director, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society

Velma Murry, PhD, University Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development, Department of Health Policy

Neely Williams, M.Div, Community Principle Investigator, Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance