A mass vaccination event scheduled for March 20 at Nissan Stadium filled up the 10,000 slots within hours of signups starting. But Metro health officials have been reminding frustrated vaccine-seekers that the health department is far from the only option.
Increasingly, public health officials are pointing people to the nonprofit Vaccine Finder, which tracks openings for public health departments and small and large pharmacies.
The number doses given each day continues to grow, with 4,000 administered in Davidson County across all sites on Wednesday.
1. Kroger/Walmart pharmacies
The newest publicly available addition is Kroger pharmacies, where some sites have openings within the next several days, which people can find through this link. Walmart pharmacies also have openings here.
2. Locally owned pharmacies
Smaller pharmacies, listed here, started receiving doses in late January. The participants have grown as doses become more widely available.
3. Community health centers
Community health centers — like Neighborhood Health, Matthew Walker (call 615-921-5990), Siloam Health — are also offering the vaccine. Each is reaching out to patients, but they can be contacted through the Vaccine Finder.
4. Major health systems
The three largest health systems — Vanderbilt University Medical Center, HCA TriStar, Ascension Saint Thomas — are all still inviting existing patients to come in for shots. At this point, VUMC has administered more than 90,000 doses, considerably more than the Metro Public Health Department.
5. The VA
The VA’s local arm, the Tennessee Valley Health System, is still vaccinating and has moved eligibility down to 45 years old, no matter their health condition. TVHS has been holding walk-in vaccination clinics on most Saturdays at its Vanderbilt and Murfreesboro campuses. Patients must already be part of the VA system.
6. Day trip to less populated counties
Lastly, state health officials are no longer discouraging people against driving across county lines to get a vaccine. It was never forbidden, but increasingly, rural health departments are having trouble filling up their appointments.
At the beginning of this week, even as 1.5 million Tennesseans with health risks became eligible under phase 1C, local health departments statewide had a combined 400,000 openings. Signups at county health departments outside Nashville happen here.