Any Greene County resident 16 or older will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot between 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Greene Valley Developmental Center campus on East Andrew Johnson Highway.
This follows a similar clinic on Tuesday at the site operated by the local Health Department and is, in part, meant to gauge interest among residents 16 and older in receiving the vaccine, County Mayor Kevin Morrison said in announcing them.
No appointments are required, Morrison said, but appointments will be set for those being vaccinated to receive their second dose of the vaccine.
“Anybody who wants to can come and get one,” Morrison said. “Anybody 16 and over just needs to come to the Greene Valley site and bring ID. They’ll be registered onsite regardless of any health conditions or status, and we’ll give them a shot if they want one.”
Ballad Health also announced on Tuesday that it will conduct a vaccine clinic for people 16 and older 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Family and Internal Medicine Clinic at 438 E. Vann Road, Suite 200. Appointments are not required, but there will be a limited supply of 200 doses available.
Nine new cases of the virus were recorded Tuesday in Greene County, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. There are currently 80 active cases in the county, the state agency reported.
Morrison said with the short window of the vaccination site being opened to all 16 and older at the Greene Valley site, he hopes to gauge local interest levels in vaccine availability being opened sooner than April 5, the date by which state officials have said vaccine eligibility will be open to all Tennessee residents ages 16 and older.
“We don’t necessarily want to cause a stampede, but we want to see the level of interest and enthusiasm,” Morrison said.
He also said that while appointments are typically made for individuals to be vaccinated at the Greene Valley site, inoculations are being given without appointments in an effort to remove a possible barrier for some people.
“We wanted to make it as convenient as possible for those who are wanting to get it, but don’t have the ability to register or sign up or they think it’s a hassle,” Morrison said.
Morrison added that the vaccines, including the Pfizer vaccine being administered Tuesday and Wednesday, are considered safe and effective.
“We have vaccinated over 25,000 people without any serious incident. Some folks have had some rather irksome side effects like sore arms, some fever or tiredness, but nobody with a serious reaction to the vaccine, so in that respect we consider it very safe,” Morrison said. “We think that the low number of cases we are seeing, as well as the lowered hospitalizations and improved death rates that have emerged recently are a direct result of people getting the vaccine, so we certainly think it is very effective.”
He added that he has not experienced side effects when he received his COVID-19 vaccine.
“Nothing will get us back to normal faster than getting people vaccinated, and I think opening it up might get a few more people vaccinated,” Morrison said.
The Greene Valley site is located at 4850 E. Andrew Johnson Highway. The Greene County Health Department can be reached at 798-1749.
EXTENDED VACCINATION HOURS
In addition to the special clinics the county is holding, the Northeast Regional Health Office announced Monday that extended hours will be offered in counties including Greene to provide more morning and evening appointments.
To book an appointment, visit Vaccinate.tn.gov and click the blue “Proceed to COVID-19 questionnaire” button at the bottom of the page to start a registration.
Anyone needing help in scheduling a vaccination should call the Northeast Regional Information Line at 423-979-4689. The information line is staffed between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Appointments for COVID-19 vaccines administered by the Greene County Health Department can be made at the former Greene Valley Developmental Center campus, at covid19.tn.gov or by calling 866-442-5301.
Other vaccination sites at local pharmacies can be located using vaccinefinder.org. The sites should be contacted to check availability and for scheduling.
COVID-19 testing times at the Greene County Health Department, 810 W. Church St., were modified to 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to the Northeast Regional Health Department.
Self-test kits continue to be available for adults on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Standard nasal swab testing will be available on Tuesday and Thursday. Local county health departments will continue to offer COVID-19 testing at no charge.