Fairview’s Goodlark Pharmacy has been selected by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) to assist with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort.
According to Dr. Chris Konecny, pharmacist and co-owner of Goodlark Pharmacy, “The Fairview location is one of only 50 independent pharmacies across the state selected to give the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.” The Fairview pharmacy is also the only independent one chosen in Williamson County.
As an independent pharmacy, Goodlark applied to the TDH and CDC to become a pandemic vaccine provider in November and December 2020. Konecny said the process included lots of paperwork and preparation. “We also worked closely with Micah Cost and Lucy Shell at the Tennessee Pharmacists Association to obtain the vaccine,” said Konecny.
Dr. John Kelsey, also a pharmacist and co-owner, confirmed after they received 100 first round COVID vaccine shots they quickly announced the availability on their social media.
Konecny said the response was overwhelming. “We went live with the news on Wednesday at 1 p.m., and in the first two hours we had over 150 calls…We, basically, booked out (appointments) in five hours.”
Each site was tasked with creating their own schedule for administering the vaccinations, and for Fairview that schedule began February 1. Konecny said they have a waiting list for the next shipment of vaccine shots.
The pharmacy is also required to follow the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for Williamson County to determine who is eligible to receive the vaccine at this stage of distribution. Currently, in Williamson County, anyone age 75 and over is eligible, but an appointment is required. The county’s risk-based eligibility falls under the state’s 1a1 Plan and 1a2 Plan.
According to TDH, Tennessee is now administering COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna to residents age 75 and up. But many seniors have not been able to get a vaccine because of high demand for a limited number of doses.
Tennessee’s first phase of vaccine distribution is split into two tiers. The first, the The 1a1 Plan, consists of health care workers dealing directly with patients, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, first responders, correctional officers and people age 18 and up who can’t live independently. The second tier the 1a2 Plan, includes most other health care workers and funeral workers. Vaccines are now available to these groups through the expanded distribution at pharmacies and clinics.
“We’re eager to launch these partnerships to help bring the vital resource of COVID-19 vaccines to Tennesseans in communities most vulnerable to serious and lasting social and economic challenges due to the pandemic,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP.
As Williamson County goes through the phases, it will start offering the vaccine to persons age 65 and up. State health officials believe they’ll begin vaccinating people age 65 and up at some point in March, and people 55 and over at some point in the second quarter of 2021. By the third quarter, the state hopes to vaccinate people over age 45, with younger people getting access toward the end of the year.
TDH’s allocation of COVID-19 vaccine to provider partners like Goodlark Pharmacy is designed to ensure the most equitable and accessible distribution of scarce vaccine resources throughout the state, with a focus on Tennesseans most at risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19.
Piercey added, “We’re bringing COVID-19 vaccines to familiar and convenient locations for residents of these communities to receive their vaccinations.” And all vaccinations are being given at no charge to the recipients.
Both, Konecny and Kelsey said, “We’re proud to be part of this life-saving vaccine process.”
You can visit covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines for the latest vaccine updates.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How quickly is the vaccine effective after receiving it?
Phase 3 clinical trials suggest:
• Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective at preventing illness from COVID-19 after 14 days from the second dose of vaccine. Pfizer vaccine also provided limited protection after the first dose (52%).
• Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective at preventing illness from COVID-19 after 14 days from the second dose of vaccine.
Must a mask be worn after vaccination?
All current guidelines state to continue to use the same precautions to prevent COVID-19—wash hands, self-isolate and get tested if sick, limit interactions with those outside of your household, and wear a mask when with those outside of the household if social distancing cannot be maintained. When in public, be sure to continue to protect yourself by wearing a face covering, watching your distance, and avoiding crowds.