The Blount County Health Department received the county’s second batch of COVID-19 vaccines Monday.
Vaccines arrived at the health department around 10:45 a.m. Monday, Dec. 21, BCHD Direct Robert Schmidt told The Daily Times.
Schmidt said Tennessee was allocated 115,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to be divided among counties based on population. He did not specify how many doses Blount received.
Vaccine administration began at the health department at 1 p.m at 301 McGhee St. in Maryville.
Tennessee Department of Health spokeswoman Corie Gouge said 10 people received the vaccine at the BCHD on Monday. The remaining doses will be administered Wednesday at the health department.
Mike Seratt was the first person to be inoculated at the health department.
“I feel fine,” he said. “I’ve got nothing else to lose.”
Seratt, a sergeant for the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, has colon cancer. He fell victim to COVID-19 in September and was hospitalized for seven days at Blount Memorial Hospital.
“I was wanting to get it pretty quick,” he said. “I don’t want to get it again ... because they say it’s worse when you get it again. I was wanting to do this as soon as I could.”
Seratt is one of the people in Phase 1a1 of Tennessee Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan — specifically, first responders, home health care providers, student health care providers and staff members, and residents of long-term care facilities.
Included within the long-term care category, Schmidt said, are group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“That’s the other high-risk population we’re targeting during 1a1,” he said.
The doses arrived just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency distribution, and about a week after the administration approved the Pfizer Biotech vaccine.
“We are excited to receive these additional vaccines and see our COVID-19 vaccination activities underway,” Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey wrote in a Thursday, Dec. 17, TDH press release.
The Moderna vaccines, unlike the Pfizer doses, do not have to be stored at super cold temperatures. Both of the vaccines require two doses, with the second needing to be administered three to four weeks after the first.
TDH reported on Dec. 18 that as of Dec. 18, approximately .06% of Blount County was vaccinated for COVID-19 after last week’s shipment of 975 doses to Blount Memorial Hospital for frontline workers.