Hamilton County expands COVID vaccine eligibility, will work on honor system, no decision on mask rules

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – More people are getting coronavirus vaccinations in Hamilton County and even more will be eligible to get the vaccine on Monday.

Health officials are asking that if you’re qualified to give shots and want to help out to give them a call.

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“We have received some additional vaccine in Hamilton County this week. We’re really excited about that, but along with that comes with having to open a third site to run all three sites at the same time,” Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said.

Tennessee is expanding criteria for the vaccine to include a large age group with a defined high-risk health condition.

Hamilton County will be working on the honor system.

Hamilton County Health Administrator Becky Barnes said they’ll ask for proof that you work or live in Hamilton County, but will not ask for proof of your medical condition.

“I have faith in our community for people to wait their turn. Of course, I’m sure there will be some that maybe don’t, but I do have faith that our community will do that,” Barnes said.

This doesn’t mean the end of preventative measures.

President Joe Biden recently slammed governors of states for their decision to do away with mask mandates.

“The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everyone is fine to take of your mask and forget it. It still matters,” President Biden said.

It’s a move multiple states are making including Alabama.

“Our new modified order will include several changes that will ease up some of our current restrictions while keeping our mask order in place for another 5 weeks, through April 9, but let me be abundantly clear after April the 9th, I will not keep the mask order in effect,” Governor Kay Ivey, (R-AL) said.

But while this is happening, as of now, Mayor Coppinger has made no decision on lifting mask rules.