Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said things went smoothly at the Enterprise South vaccination location, which opened last week.
“All went well there at the Enterprise South site,” he said. “They were also able to do 200 shots an hour, just like at the CARTA Bus Barn and at the Riverpark. This operation is getting better every day, and I’m looking forward to getting more of the vaccine.”
He said the county has given out around 71,000 vaccines in total, and he said the county is moving through the process as quickly as possible.
He also announced that the Tennessee Housing Development Agency is offering assistance for those struggling to make rent payments because of COVID. He said this opens on March 1.
“This is to pay past rent and utilities, and future rent payments may become eligible,” Mayor Coppinger said. “The best way to find out is to go to their website at THDA.org, and check to see if you’re eligible or if you know someone who may be eligible.”
He said the numbers regarding COVID are staying steady. He said there hasn’t been a decline, but there has not been much of an increase either. He said he is relying on the public to continue to mask up, socially distance, and avoid large gatherings while washing hands to keep the numbers low.
Mayor Coppinger said the county has received both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and said the Johnson and Johnson vaccine could be available in the future. He encouraged teachers to go online and sign up for appointments when vaccines are available.
“We know it’s critical our teacher population is treated, because it’s going to keep our young people in school,” the mayor said.
Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes also explained how the health department stores and safeguards vaccines. She said ‘accidents can happen” but that safeguards do exist. She said Hamilton County generally receives Pfizer vaccines, and they are storing those in one of Blood Assurance’s ultra-cold freezers until the county is able to get one of their own.
She said the freezer has to be tested for five days and needs to stay at a certain temperature for all of those days. She said the freezer has a generator backup just in case power is lost, and she said the generator system is tested each Tuesday.
“Only vaccine for the next day’s appointment is thawed in a refrigerator,” Ms. Barnes said. “If for some reason we cannot have the event on that day, there are still four days to use that vaccine. Staff monitored any no-shows to minimize the number of doses prepared.”