TDoH Reports Private Providers Will Be Able to Administer Vaccines by End of February

February 15, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health reports that more than one million vaccines have been administered and nearly 10 percent of all Tennesseans have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Vaccines will soon be allocated to private outpatient medical providers to administer to patients.

While many have anxiously awaited the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines in Tennessee, the federal supply as been such that the ability to supply private partners with vaccines has been extremely limited. Over the first eight weeks of vaccination efforts in Tennessee, the TDoH has been able to provide vaccines to a slowly increasing number of partners—first to hospitals for the vaccination of our health care workforce, then to health departments and pharmacies that were partnering to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities, FQHCs and community health clinics, and most recently to Wal-Mart pharmacies that are able to vaccinate without regard to insurance status.

As additional doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are anticipated, as well as the possible FDA Emergency Use Authorization of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine at the end of February, the State expects to have the capacity to begin to send doses to private outpatient medical providers, as well. Providers that have already submitted the CDC’s Provider Agreement and Profile to TDoH and have received confirmation that the onboarding process may begin receiving vaccines as soon as the week of Feb. 22.

Weather permitting, first dose vaccines are typically delivered to facilities on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with second dose shipments arriving on Thursday or Friday of the week prior to the due dates of those doses. A confirmation email from McKesson will be sent to the email addresses provided on the CDC Provider Agreement and Profile in advance of deliveries. The ancillary kits, which contains needles, syringes, alcohol wipes, personal protective equipment (PPE), and vaccine record cards, typically arrive the day before or day of vaccine delivery. Please note that ancillary kits do not contain gloves, sharps containers, or bandages.

Allocations and Inventory

Allocations will be made to private partners as county allocations allow. Each week, TDoH is notified of the State’s allocation by the CDC and the federal operation. That allocation is divided among the 95 Tennessee counties, based upon county Social Vulnerability Index (a CDC measure of a county’s resilience, based upon access to health care, population demographics, income, housing and other factors) and the county’s population. Those county allocations are then assigned to the county health department and the vaccinating providers within that county, with the county health department receiving first right of refusal. TDoH makes every effort to allocate across private partners equitably.

For example, if there is adequate vaccine to share with private partners, TDoH attempt to send the same initial dose to all partners of that type. Once a first allocation is made, TDoH will use the vaccine inventory at that site to inform future allocations. It is critically important that partners report all administered COVID-19 vaccines to TennIIS within 72 hours of administration and reconcile their inventory in TennIIS a minimum of twice per week (daily is encouraged). Failure to take these steps will result in an artificially elevated number of vaccines in inventory and will impact receipt of future allocations. TDoH encourages partners to administer vaccines to eligible individuals within seven days of vaccine delivery. Partners that are able to administer doses to the targeted populations quickly will be able to receive additional vaccine allocations, as supply allows. Partners are expected to administer vaccines to populations according to their county’s open phases. Phases are updated daily and may be found here: County Vaccine Info & Appointments - TN COVID-19 Hub. TDoH monitors vaccine administration and will investigate reports of vaccines being provided outside of the county’s open phases.

Until additional vaccine brands are approved and available, private partners will receive Moderna vaccine. Please carefully review the attached information, paying particular attention to the information on storage and handling of vaccines. This information may also be found here.

Housekeeping and Logistics

Vaccines must be stored at the site to which they are shipped, and must be continuously monitored with a digital data logger that is checked at least twice each day. All temperature excursions must be immediately reported to temperature.health@tn.gov immediately and the vaccines labeled “Do Not Use” until TDoH provides guidance. Use of vaccines that have been exposed to temperatures outside of the acceptable range may result in needing to revaccinate patients. At no time may a patient be asked for payment for a COVID-19 vaccine or its administration. Vaccines should be provided to qualified individuals without regard to their county or residence.

Finally, every effort should be taken to avoid wastage of vaccine doses. Each vial of Moderna vaccine contains 10 doses (sometimes 11 doses) and all doses should be administered within six hours of the vial being punctured. We recommend keeping a list of individuals who may be able to arrive on-site to receive a vaccine at short notice. Preferably, these individuals will be eligible according to the county’s open phases, but if the choice is to administer a dose to someone out-of-phase or waste the dose, please administer the dose to someone out-of-phase. We trust you will plan ahead so as not to open vaccine vials unless there is a plan to administer all doses.

Providers that have not yet begun the process to become a COVID-19 vaccine provider may do so by completing the CDC’s Provider Agreement and Profile, found here: CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Profile Information