Hamilton County Expanding COVID Vaccinations

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Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – Hamilton County Health Department rolled out phase 1A-2 as part of the state of Tennessee’s vaccination plan.

Vaccinations took place at the Navy Reserve Center off of Amnicola Highway from 9am until 5pm Wednesday.

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Last week, the health department gave vaccinations for the highest-priority residents, including first responders, hospital staff, and people who worked and lived in long-term care facilities.

But not everyone is sold on the efficiency of the vaccine rollout.

Local resident Caristina Zavalata expressed concern that the vaccine wasn’t getting into the hands of the public as quickly as it needed to.

She said, “I think that definitely we should start taking care of the people, the communities that it’s hit the hardest, that COVID has hit the hardest, and I feel like we aren’t necessarily doing that. I’m also a little nervous just because it is so now, it is so – what if it’s not bulletproof and tons of people get it? So that’s also something that concerns me as well. Just kind of seeing both sides of it.”

Locals gave their reaction to the vaccine, some offering cautious optimism while saying they were glad it was on the way.

Caristina also said, “I’m super happy that we found a vaccine and that people hopefully won’t be dying from this anymore. But at the same time, how safe is it? I want to see the actual tests. I want it to be broken down for people that don’t have science degrees. And then also, you know, I’m just cautiously optimistic.”

She also says that while a vaccine might be a step in the right direction, she’s skeptical about the idea of Americans finally throwing their masks any time soon.

“I feel like right away most people aren’t – like the fact that we can’t make everyone get the vaccine, it’s still going to exist. Like, keep the mask for a while and then kind of let things settle down. But people aren’t wearing masks right now. So, is it different? I’ve just seen like – how many people walk by the cameras without masks?”

The Tennessee Department of Health reported Tuesday that nearly 80 thousand total vaccinations have been administered in the state, with just over one percent of Hamilton County’s population being vaccinated with the first dose.