Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced a new digital tool Tuesday to help inform Tennesseans when they will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” Lee said in a press statement. “This tool is yet another step we’re taking to provide Tennesseans with critical information as our vaccine supply increases and more phases become eligible.”

The eligibility tool allows users to opt-in to receive updates and notifications about their vaccine phase and provides risk-based and age-based phase information at the county level.

Vaccine phases and the current estimated vaccine timeline can be found at covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility.

Tennessee’s vaccine availability information by county as of Tuesday had Trousdale County with vaccines available for those in phases 1a1 and 1a2, and for those aged 75 and over. Phase 1a1 covers hospital and home health care staff, first responders, staff and residents of long-term care facilities and those over age 18 who cannot live independently. Phase 1a2 covers other health care workers with direct patient exposure. For more information on obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine, call the Trousdale County Health Department at 615-374-2112.

Tennessee’s teachers moved up the list for the COVID-19 vaccine last Wednesday, just behind frontline health care workers in the state’s distribution plan.

When educators will actually be able to receive the vaccine is still unclear, but the Tennessee Department of Health estimates it could be in February or March. The decision moves them ahead of adults with high-risk conditions and other critical infrastructure workers.

“It has to do with risk to our society and economy,” Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said during a news briefing. “When children are in school, their societal and economic impact is strengthened, when they are educated and when they are more literate. So we want to do it for children, we want to do it for parents, in order to have kids in school so parents can go to work.”

Teachers and childcare workers have been moved to Phase 1b in the state’s vaccination rollout plan.

— From staff reports

Contributing: Ethan Steinquest, Lebanon Democrat

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