BY SABRINA BATES
DRESDEN (February 4) – Residents 70 years of age and considered high-risk are receiving their first round of the COVID-19 vaccination across the state, as well as the county as shipments are coming into local health departments. The Weakley County Department of Health has been administering the first round of the Moderna vaccine at the McWherter Civic Center in Dresden in a drive-through fashion as residents make appointments for the free shot.
As seniors file into the vehicle line-up, team members begin by offering a medical assessment, then quickly move them under the awning at the Dresden Senior Center, where they receive their first dose of the vaccine. After they receive the shot, they are asked to pull into the parking lot and wait for 15 minutes for any potential side effects to pop up. Members of Tennessee’s Armed Forces are on hand, along with nurses from the county health department to ensure the safety of those receiving the vaccine. After 28 days, they will receive a call for the second and final dose of the vaccine.
More than 473,000 Tennesseans already have received the vaccine, and more than 156,000 vaccinations were provided in the last week.
Now, the state will see a weekly allocation of 93,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses, which is a 15 percent increase in the state’s previous weekly supply.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are considered to be safe for residents and do not contain a live COVID virus. The TDH notes on its website, these vaccines work by giving the body the recipe to make the protein that is on the outside of the coronavirus. When the body sees that protein, it will make protective antibodies to it. Later, if the body sees the real virus, it will remember seeing that protein and destroy the virus before it has a chance to make a person sick.
Clinical trials show the Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing illness from COVID-19 after 14 days from the second dose of vaccine, and Moderna is 94.5 percent effective at preventing illness from COVID-19 after 14 days from the second dose of vaccine, according to the TDH. A person must get both doses to have the best protection against the virus.
Potential side effects from the vaccine include arm soreness or redness, fever, headache, chills, and fatigue as their immune system responds. These symptoms typically go away after a day or two.
Over the last seven days, the average positive percentage of COVID-19 illness is 10.1 percent in Weakley County. As of Monday, February 8, there were 108 active cases recorded by the Tennessee Department of Health for the county. Overall, Weakley County has recorded 3,594 total cases with 3,432 listed as recovered as of Monday, 54 deaths and 51 hospitalizations. Residents 31-40 years of age continue to make up the largest number of positive cases recorded across the county and state.
To set up an appointment for a vaccination in Weakley County, call 1-866-442-5301. Those who work in the health care industry, child care industry, emergency responders and seniors 70 years and older are considered eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, based on the state’s phased roll-out plan.