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Who Gets A Vaccine In Tennessee’s Phase 1C

Columbia Fire via Facebook

More than 1 million people are newly eligible to get a COVID vaccine in Tennessee as of Monday. Roughly one in six residents qualify as part of phase 1C, meaning they have common risk factors for complications with COVID-19. But the guidance still leaves some gray areas.

Some of the conditions are pretty straightforward — COPD, hypertension, dementia. But for asthma, it’s supposed to be moderate or severe. Obesity? Body mass index is supposed to be over 30. That captures nearly a third of adults in the state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s stats, but how many people know their BMI?

A common confusion emerging is about living in the same household as someone who has one of these conditions. The confusion is understandable, because state health officials are already revising the distribution plan, saying the entire household of any pregnant woman qualifies under 1C.

But generally the household contact or caregiver provision is about protecting those who are too fragile to get the vaccine, especially children. None are approved for anyone under 16, so everyone else getting shots is the best way to protect them. (Pregnant women, similarly, have not been part of the clinical trials though they will be able to get the vaccine if they choose to.)

Ultimately, it’s all on the honor system in Tennessee —  no doctor’s note required as in other states. So it will be a personal judgment call. But many unique situations may arise.



Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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