The Knox County Health Department is expanding the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to those 70 and older. This change was made in coordination with the announcement from the Tennessee Department of Health on Monday afternoon.

“We are thrilled to be advancing our vaccine distribution on the state’s timeline because we know so many in this age group are eager to be vaccinated,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “Numbers seem to be trending in the right direction and we know that has a lot to do with the community reaction to the vaccine.”

Additionally, KCHD will continue vaccinating those in the first priority groups as identified by the State. Those include health care workers and first responders, among others. A full list of qualifying groups can be found here. There are no available appointments through KCHD at this time. Additional opportunities will be announced as more vaccine is received.

“While we are encouraged that more people who are considered vulnerable and high-risk because of their age are now eligible for the vaccine, we continue to stress that demand for this vaccine still significantly outpaces supply,” said Senior Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan. “It will take time to vaccinate everyone in these expanded age groups, so we continue to ask for your patience as we work to get vaccine out to our community as quickly as possible.”

There are approximately 52,000 individuals who are 70 years and older in Knox County. Approximately, 31,000 of those individuals are 75 and older.

As previously mentioned, KCHD plans to launch a new automated scheduling and registration platform with a waitlist option. When this system is launched, those who are 70 and older, as well as other qualifying groups, will be able to register for appointments and sign-up on the waitlist. More information on this new online system will be available soon.

While supply is a persisting issue across the nation, Knox County continues to roll out vaccines quickly. To date, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health, nearly 45,000 vaccinations have been administered in Knox County.