Tennessee is lowering the threshold to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to age 70.
The state Department of Health estimates that the change means about 300,000 Tennesseans between 70 and 74 will now be eligible to get inoculated.
The age group is about 70% more likely to die and 40% more likely to be hospitalized than those aged 65 to 69. Dr. Lisa Piercey, the state’s health chief, says those data points led to changing the state’s distribution plan, which originally would have made all people 65 and up eligible this month.
Tennessee now hopes to make the vaccine to all people 65 and older as soon as March, if vaccine supplies increase.
The state Health Department says individual counties may be on different distribution schedules, especially urban counties with larger populations. Information on each counties’ distribution plans can be found here.
Roughly one-third of Tennessee counties have already lowered the age limit to get a COVID-19 vaccine to 70 years old.