Chattanooga health care workers among first Tennesseans vaccinated against COVID-19

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Deborah Deal, RN, Chief Nursing Executive gives Mindy Zychal RN, Medical Intensive Care Manager a vaccination. Parkridge Medical Center began COVID-19 vaccinations today.

Front-line health care workers at Chattanooga hospitals were among the first people in Tennessee to get the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine after the first local deliveries arrived Thursday.

Tennessee is using a "tiered process" to allocate COVID-19 vaccine, with top priority going to hospital workers in direct contact with coronavirus patients.

A box filled with 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived earlier than expected Thursday morning at Parkridge Medical Center, and the health system started vaccinating staff around 12:30 p.m. Dr. Bob Magill, chief of staff and medical director of hospitalists at Parkridge, was the first Chattanoogan to receive a dose.

The vaccines arrive as Tennessee faces one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the United States. The historic moment is a bright spot in a pandemic that has sickened more than 493,000 Tennesseans and killed at least 5,845.