State: Teacher vaccinations closer; vaccinating seniors still a priority

State officials say that teachers in Tennessee could get COVID-19 vaccines sooner than expected. Teachers are included in Phase 1-B of the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, Currently, the only county close to Anderson that is already in Phase 1-B is in Morgan County, where educators have begun receiving their first doses.

Tuesday, State Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said that teachers could be eligible to get vaccines within the next three weeks, possibly sooner if the state receives more doses than currently scheduled.

While Piercey says that vaccinating teachers is high on the priority list, she also says that senior citizens need to be vaccinated first, saying “[W]e want teachers to be vaccinated soon, and I think we’re going to be able to move that timeline up. But right now, the responsible and loving thing to do in Tennessee is to get seniors vaccinated first.”

Teachers are currently part of the group expected to become vaccine-eligible on March 1, but again, that timeline could be moved up if the state receives additional doses.

The Tennessee Department of Health is reminding adults aged 70 and older that they are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination. TDH estimates there are about 300,000 Tennesseans in the 70-74 year age group, and only about one in three Tennesseans in this group have been vaccinated to date.

“It’s a top priority to protect Tennessee senior citizens who are the most vulnerable to hospitalization and death from COVID-19, and we don’t want anyone to miss out on their chance to be protected by vaccination,” said Commissioner Piercey. “There are vaccination providers in every county of the state, and we urge Tennesseans who are 70 or older to register now for this safe, free and highly effective vaccine that could save their lives.”

Know Your Risk
Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan prioritizes those at highest risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19. People aged 70 to 74 have a 70 percent higher rate of death and a 40 percent higher rate of hospitalization from COVID-19 as compared to those aged 65 to 69.

Partnering to Protect Tennessee Seniors
TDH is partnering with the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability and the AARP in outreach efforts to inform elder Tennesseans about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and how they may access vaccination. TDH urges family members, community groups, faith organizations and other individuals and organizations that support seniors to share these resources and help Tennesseans age 70 and up register for their COVID-19 vaccination.  TCAD provides information for older adults about COVID-19 vaccination at AARP offers a guide for getting your COVID-19 vaccination at

Register for Your Appointment
Tennessee will continue to move through phases of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan as vaccine supplies increase each week. Tennesseans can find information on the phases eligible for vaccination in their county and, when eligible, register for vaccination through the 89 staterun county health departments at

TDH has a video to walk people through the online registration process. Due to their independent operations and larger populations. Tennessee’s metropolitan counties may have different instructions, so residents in these areas should check with local authorities about their plans.

Get a Ride to Your Appointment
Tennessee seniors who need transportation assistance to receive COVID-19 vaccination may learn about services offered by the Tennessee Association of Human Resource Agencies at
TDH reminds all Tennesseans that in addition to vaccination, wearing a face mask, maintaining social distance and getting tested when exposed or sick are critical to controlling the pandemic.

Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is available online at Find answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination at

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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