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This story was updated on Friday, March, 26, 2021, 2:34 p.m. to update the vaccine appointment phone number for Southeast Tennessee health departments.

Ten counties in Southeast Tennessee are opening eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to everyone age 16 and older.

Bledsoe, Bradley, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie counties are expanding their eligibility guidelines and extending hours to increase vaccination rates, according to a statement from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The counties are offering vaccinations by appointment only and people can register at bit.ly/tn-shots or by calling their local health department.

"We're eager to offer these additional opportunities for people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations in a way that works more conveniently with their schedules," said Glenn Czarnecki, Southeast Regional Director, in a statement. "The more people who choose to get their vaccinations, the sooner our community can return to normal day-to-day activities."

Along with the expanded eligibility, local health departments are also increasing the hours they are offering shots during the week, according to the announcement.

The Tennessee Department of Health announced this week that all Tennessee residents age 16 and older would be eligible for a vaccine no later than April 5. The state has struggled with some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, something the state health department's leader said was due to vaccine hesitancy in rural communities.

Hamilton County continues to offer vaccines to people in phase 2a and 2b and those age 55 and older who live or work in the county. These phases include workers in commercial agriculture and food production, social services, corrections, public transit, telecommunications, utilities and public infrastructure.

Contact Wyatt Massey at wmassey@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6249. Follow him on Twitter @news4mass.

How to get vaccinated in Southeast Tennessee

People seeking vaccination in Tennessee counties outside of Hamilton County can go online to book an appointment or call the regional health department number at 866-442-5301.

 

 

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