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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Hamilton County residents wait in line on Amnicola Parkway to get the Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine at the Tennessee River Park on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Thursday was the first day Hamilton County allowed for residents 75 and older to get vaccinated, which resulted wait hours long wait times.

This story was updated at 1:52 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, with more information.

The Hamilton County Health Department continued to give COVID-19 vaccines late Thursday after saying hours earlier they ran out for the day, according to a news release from the health department.

In a statement, administrator Becky Barnes said the health department had more vaccine doses than they anticipated and that the thawed and prepared vaccines had to be given by the end of the day in order to not waste any.

"The dose estimate was a miscalculation on our part and we have learned from this," Hamilton County Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes said in a statement.. "We ask for the continued patience of our residents as Health Department staff work through the challenges this massive undertaking brings."

It was the first day the health department used the Pfizer vaccine, and nurses were able to draw six and sometimes seven doses from some of the vials, which was more than the expected five, according to the release. 

The last Pfizer vaccine was administered at around 7 p.m., six hours after closing the gates and turning away those who were seeking a dose. The few hundred people who were still inside the gate after it closed were allowed to continue through the vaccine process and left around 4:30 p.m.

Since the vaccines had been thawed, they needed to be used as soon as possible, so staff were asked to call people they knew could get there as soon as possible. The health department had administered 1,158 doses by 7 p.m. without wasting a single dose, the release states.

READ MORE: Where are you in line for the COVID-19 vaccine in Hamilton County, and when can you expect to receive a dose?

A record number of vaccine seekers turned out on Thursday, which marked the first time that any resident age 75 and older was eligible to receive vaccine after the Tennessee Department of Health updated its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan on Wednesday, increasing the priority for the age groups at highest risk of serious COVID-19 illness and death.

Those who braved the long line entering the site on Amnicola Highway waited between two and three hours to get vaccinated, officials said.

Health department officials announced plans to restart vaccination days for Hamilton County on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

 

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