Tennessee Department of Health

Patient Annette Hanna-Campbell, 72, gets the vaccine from Medical Assistant Molly Flores. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy requires out-of-silo thinking

BY: - March 26, 2021

Disappointing but not surprising that the muddled public health messaging from the Lee administration is now playing out in low rates of vaccination in many rural Tennessee counties. Moreover, Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey is warning of signs of another surge and saying the state is conducting market research to figure out a public […]

Dr. Gill Wright, interim chief medical director, Nashville Department of Health, stands in the Music City Center convention hall set for COVID-19 vaccine distribution (Photo: John Partipilo)

How single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine could affect public health strategy

BY: - February 11, 2021

A wave of new COVID-19 vaccines appears to be on the horizon, bringing with them the expanded possibilities of reaching individuals outside traditional healthcare settings and with only one dose. Two vaccines, from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have been granted emergency approval by the Federal Drug Administration. Those are the vaccines that Tennesseans have been receiving […]

State Representative Barbara Cooper of Memphis was vaccinated against COVID-19 on February 2nd, 2021. The 91 year-old lawmaker received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Rep. Cooper said she is “excited” about the vaccination and added, “I am encouraging everyone, especially those in high-risk categories like myself, to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated when they are eligible and help fight this virus that has ravaged our community in Memphis and Shelby County.” Cooper has served Tennessee House District 86 in the State Legislature since 1996. © Karen Pulfer Focht

Memphis Rep. Cooper urges Black community to get COVID-19 vaccine

BY: - February 3, 2021

State Rep. Barbara Cooper understands the trepidation among Black Tennesseans about getting a COVID-19 vaccination. But after a friend recently died from the virus, she is more determined than ever to set an example for her constituents to ward off the deadly illness. The 91-year-old Cooper, a Democrat representing District 86 in Memphis, received her […]

(Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

New guidance from Tennessee officials says hospitals cannot limit vaccines to existing patients

BY: - January 22, 2021

Tennessee hospitals may no longer restrict their still-limited supply of vaccine only to established patients under new guidance issued by the Tennessee Department of Health, Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner, said Friday in a briefing with reporters. “For hospitals to continue vaccinating on a forward going basis we have asked them … to do a few […]

Tory Watson of Memphis Police Department gets his vaccine. First responders Memphis and Shelby County police officers, firefighters and EMTs get COVID-19 vaccines Tuesday Dec. 29, 2020. The Shelby County Health Department is administering the shots in a process that will go on for several weeks. (© Karen Pulfer Focht)

Shelby County officials vaccine plan to address racial disparities

BY: - January 15, 2021

Shelby County Health Department officials say they have long term COVID vaccination plans to address any potential racial disparities, a particular concern in Memphis, a majority minority city.  According to the Tennessee Department of Health, current data shows less than 4% percent of Tennesseans who have received the COVID-19 vaccine identify as Black – and […]

Young Black man getting COVID-19 vaccine. Marko Geber/Getty Images

COVID-19 vaccine rollout concerns advocates for poor and minority patients

BY: - January 14, 2021

As demand continues to outpace supply for COVID-19 vaccines, local officials and healthcare advocates are questioning whether Tennessee’s poor, Black and brown residents are getting an equal shot. For more than a week, access to vaccines has been open to Tennesseans age 75 and older through public health departments and hospitals.  Health departments’ rollouts of […]

Icebox in which vaccines will be stored at Clinical Research Associates. (Photo: John Partipilo)

200,000 Tennesseans to be vaccinated by the New Year

BY: - December 21, 2020

The first of 115,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine expected in Tennessee this week came Monday morning, arriving in all of Tennessee’s 95 counties and further laying the groundwork in a race to vaccinate 200,000 Tennessean by the end of this year. The Moderna vaccine shipment follows an earlier delivery of 56,500 doses of the […]

Gov. Bill Lee addressing the surge in COVID-19 cases and the vaccine at his regular press briefing. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Piercey urges Tennesseans to forego even home gatherings

BY: - December 20, 2020

Officials from the Tennessee Department of Health unveiled data Sunday afternoon showing the rise in COVID-19 cases filling the state’s hospitals, and intensive care units in particular, and strongly urged Tennesseans’ to forego any social gatherings even in the home.  “As you know, the latest numbers we’ve been dealing with are very dramatic and are […]

Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 7 - Mayor John Cooper tours COVID-19 assessment centers in Davidson County. (Photo: Nashville.gov)

Community mistrust of COVID-19 vaccine challenges health care officials

BY: - December 18, 2020

For many Tennesseans, the COVID-19 vaccine is a one-size-fits-all solution to returning to pre-pandemic normalcy, but for Black and immigrant Tennesseans, the trials and pending vaccinations are exposing long-standing health inequities in minority communities. The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Tennessee and is being distributed to health care workers first. It’s expected  to become available […]

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee pictured with his wife, Maria, during a Memphis event in December. (Photo by © Karen Pulfer Focht)

Editor’s column: Gov. Bill Lee does his best Ebenezer Scrooge impression

BY: - December 17, 2020

Nothing warms the heart at the holidays like viewings of Christmas fare like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and adaptations of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.”  Each features a villain lacking in holiday spirit and empathy for his fellow man — or Who, in the Grinch’s case — but who comes to realize […]

Gov. Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee greet Vice President Mike Pence Dec. 4 in Memphis at an event to discuss distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Camper wants legislative focus on widespread vaccine distribution

BY: - December 15, 2020

With COVID-19 surging across the state, the legislature should concentrate on controlling the virus and disseminating a vaccine when it convenes in January, House Minority Leader Karen Camper says. Gov. Bill Lee’s administration already has a draft plan on the Department of Health website, and the governor, who will not require residents to get vaccinations, […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Rural Tennessee mayors feeling the squeeze as Gov. Bill Lee delegates mask rules to them

BY: - November 24, 2020

Two more Tennessee county mayors enacted first-time mask mandates on Friday afternoon ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, citing rising COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations. Grainger and Claiborne County mayors are getting considerable community blowback after instituting mask mandates. “Mayor Mike Byrd take your so called mandate and stick it. Free people live free you […]