Gibson County lowered its Age-Based Phase for people ages 70 and older to be able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations after a hang-up in entering the next phase for administering vaccines.
As of Feb. 3, 19 of the 21 counties in West Tennessee have entered Phase 1b for COVID-19 vaccinations, and 20 of those counties have lowered their Age-Based Phase to 70 and older. West Tennessee is leading the state in the number of regional counties entering Phase 1b, followed by Middle Tennessee with 13 counties entering Phase 1b.
Gibson and Shelby County remain in phases 1a1 and 1a2, but Gibson County has lowered its Age-Based Phase to include people 70 and older. This means that vaccinations are currently available in Gibson County for Phases 1a1, 1a2 and residents 70 and older.
People who meet this criteria can call 1-866-442-5301 to get on a list to receive their vaccine. Health Department officials stress that it may take a couple of tries to call until callers can reach someone. For better efficiency, it is recommended to go online at https://covid19.tn.gov/ and follow the directions under “Vaccine Info & Appointments” to set up an appointment.
First doses will be administered at the Milan Fire Department starting Thursday, Feb. 4. Plans are currently being made to administer second doses there as well. Residents needing their second dose will receive a call from the Gibson County Health Department to schedule their appointments.
State Rep. Curtis Halford contacted Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercy for an update on Gibson County’s vaccinations. Lisa Piercy is a resident of Milan, but works in Nashville.
Due to having a larger percentage of the population falling into the current phase 1a1, 1a2 and 70 and older phases, Piercy said that Gibson County isn’t at the next phase yet -1b. Every county received the exact same amount of doses relative to overall populations, but this didn’t take into account varying numbers across counties of the populations within each phase.
In summary, Gibson County has a larger phase 1a1, 1a2 and 70 and older population than some surrounding counties may have -despite receiving the same proportionate amount of vaccines.
Piercy stressed that registering for a vaccination online is far more efficient than calling for an appointment.
“Please register for the vaccine online and be patient while the request is being processed,” Piercy said. “After you have registered, it will take a day or two for the health department to contact you with an appointment. The online portal is much more efficient.”
Although residents are not restricted to be vaccinated in their home county, Commissioner Piercey advises that we don’t travel across county lines to be vaccinated.
“I lost sleep over this all weekend,” said Rep. Halford “But since meeting with Dr. Piercey and our state health department officials, I’m not nearly as worried as I was now that I know what is going on.”
As of Feb. 2, 5.6 percent of Gibson County residents have received their first vaccine, according to Tennessee Department of Health data. 3.3 percent of Gibson County residents have received their second dose. A total of 691,574 Tennesseans are reported to have been vaccinated as of Feb 2.