‘No vaccine’ frustrates seniors

Thursday, January 7, 2021
Though it might be a long wait, given the amount of people wanting the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s always good to check ahead for availability, before sitting in long lines at Bedford County Agriculture Education building.
T-G Photo by Dawn Hankins

While it may accommodate long lines of traffic, some local residents believe the county’s new COVID-19 testing site at 2119 Midland Road at the Bedford County Agriculture and Education Center is less than ideal. Seniors said Tuesday they waited in line for an hour or more, only to be told the county’s vaccine supply is already depleted.

One of those residents, who only wanted to be identified as “Janette,” said she waited in her car in line for over an hour Tuesday morning. Health officials said they could only give her the COVID-19 test, which she has already had.

“Everyone I know age 75 was there in long lines,” she said. “They were doing only COVID testing . . . said maybe have the vaccine be available today or maybe tomorrow.”

This senior, who said she still works and took time off from her job in hopes of getting the vaccine, described the whole setup as “disgusting.” The testing site was moved to the Ag Center last week when it was announced that Bedford County would be receiving its vaccine supply.

“While they were dressed, etc., it just was not a healthy atmosphere . . . in a cow barn.”

The state has not released information as of press time today as to when more vaccine will be available for Bedford Countians. Earlier this week, the state updated its timeline for which groups of Tennesseans are currently eligible for a shot.

At this time, Bedford County is required to give the vaccine only to seniors over 75, first responders and healthcare workers. While groups like Bedford County Emergency Management Agency have been posting updates on vaccine availability, it seems seniors aren’t getting a lot of information about the whole process.

The state verified Tuesday with the Times-Gazette that indeed, this county has officially run out of the vaccine and the next arrival date is still unknown. Health workers note this should be looked upon as a good response from the county.

“We are pleased with the overwhelming interest Bedford Countians are showing in receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, and we’re providing them as quickly as possible as we receive additional shipments of vaccines. We have had a number of counties deplete their current supplies of vaccine, which is a good thing, as our goal is to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to as many Tennesseans as possible as quickly as possible.”

COVID-19 vaccine supplies remain limited at this time, and Tennessee, like other states, has experienced delays in receipt of vaccines from federal partners. Availability of vaccines varies by county, and counties may progress through COVID-19 vaccination phases at different times depending on supplies of COVID-19 vaccines and interest in receiving them.

Basically, several other Tennessee counties are in the same boat with Bedford, including Davidson. Health department officials are ever hopeful.

“We look forward to accelerating through our priority phases to cover the maximum number of Tennesseans in the shortest time possible as vaccine supplies become increasingly available. The health department is planning additional vaccination opportunities and will share details about those as vaccine supplies become available.”

Gov. Bill Lee’s office recently released an eligibility tool to allows users to opt-in to receive updates and notifications about their vaccine phase. The tool also provides risk-based and age-based phase information at the county level.Vaccine phases and the current estimated vaccine timeline can be found there. The eligibility tool and COVID-19 information can be accessed at https://covid19.tn.gov/.

COVID-19 info by the numbers for Bedford County (Wednesday, Jan. 6):

TOTAL ACTIVE CASES: 471 (-41 since Tuesday)

NEW CASES: 45 reported since Tuesday

INACTIVE/RECOVERIES: 4,322 (+81 since Tuesday)

DECEASED: 74 (Five deaths added to state’s list Wednesday after four deaths added Tuesday)

TOTAL CASE COUNT SINCE BEGINNING: 4,822 (+45 since Tuesday)