The Tennessee Department of Health announced Dec. 14 the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Tennessee following its emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
An initial emergency supply of 975 doses will serve as a back-up should any vaccines be damaged.
An additional shipment of 56,550 doses is expected to arrive later this week.
The first doses of the vaccine will be shipped beginning Dec. 16 to 28 sites throughout Tennessee for distribution to 74 hospitals. Vaccines are expected to arrive at the sites Dec. 17, according to the TDH.
A second shipment of 56,500 is expected to arrive in about three weeks.
The first and second shipments will serve as the first and second doses for individuals in the first phase of Tennessee's vaccination plan, which includes emergency health care workers and first responders.
“We have been preparing for months to distribute approved vaccines and we believe this will be a safe and effective tool in the fight against COVID-19,” TDH Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said in a release. “Our initial supplies of this vaccine are limited, but we are in constant contact with hospitals to prepare administration for our frontline health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff who choose to receive it.”