Tonya Hailey, left, receives a COVID-19 vaccination from an employee at the Trousdale County Health Department.

The Trousdale County Health Department has received doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and began distributing them this week.

First responders and health care workers began receiving the vaccine on Tuesday, according to Brittany Cox, assistant regional director of Mid-Cumberland Regional Health Office.

Trousdale County received the Moderna vaccine as part of a shipment of 115,000 doses sent to Tennessee after the vaccine received emergency use approval from the Food & Drug Administration.

“We’re in Phase 1a1 and anyone can go to and look at the vaccination plan for the State of Tennessee to see where they fall,” Cox said. “In Phase 1a1, we’re helping first responders, home health care providers and student health care providers.”

Cox said Trousdale County’s Health Department had received 100 initial doses of the vaccine and would be receiving more in the coming weeks.

Hospital staff and staff and residents of long-term care facilities are also scheduled to be part of Phase 1a1. Staff at Trousdale Medical Center was scheduled for the vaccine on Wednesday and the Health Department will coordinate with staff at Hartsville’s two long-term care facilities regarding distribution of the vaccine, Cox said.

“We’ll be partnering with them to provide the vaccine and we can also assist with administering as well,” Cox said. “Some agencies do have the option of administering in home if they want.”

Charity West, administrator at Trousdale Senior Living Center, said her facility had already been contacted by its partnering pharmacy about providing vaccines to residents and staff. West said she expected to hear this week on when the vaccine would be available there and that staff would be encouraged to vaccinate.

Pete Prins, administrator at Trousdale Health & Rehab, said he had a Wednesday meeting to determine the process there.

Sheriff Ray Russell said he planned to be vaccinated and expected most of his staff to do so. He added that some of his employees had already had COVID-19 and would probably wait before taking the vaccine.

Cox said the Pfizer vaccine, which also recently received FDA approval, had been prioritized for hospitals and the Moderna vaccine was being made available to health departments.

Phase 1a2 consists of other health care workers with direct patient exposure and Phase 1b consists of adults with two or more high-risk conditions. Phase 2 consists of critical infrastructure workers, school staff, all ages with underlying conditions and those over age 65. There are four phases of vaccine rollout, but no timeline has been made available.

Tonya Hailey, a home health care worker, said she was excited for the opportunity to be vaccinated and hoped to help set an example for others.

“I was excited to do my part. I’m ready to get this over with,” Hailey said.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory

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