Tennessee officials give COVID vaccine to 'close family and friends' after denying it to 75-year-olds: report

Tennessee officials give COVID vaccine to 'close family and friends' after denying it to 75-year-olds: report
Image via Tero Vesalainen, Shutterstock.

Officials in Hamilton County, Tennessee have been caught giving the COVID-19 vaccination to "close friends and family" after turning away elderly people by claiming they had run out of the vaccine.

When a journalist questioned a car of seven younger people who had been vaccinated, the people in the car laughed and said, "We got contacts," as in, they're connected to people who could give them the vaccination over older people who need it far more.

WRCB reports that on Thursday, the Hamilton County Health Department began offering vaccines to people 75 and older at 9 a.m., quickly causing a traffic jam and causing the department to start turning away cars by 1 p.m., including cars filled with old people who had been waiting over four hours.

Acting on a tip, WRCB reporters returned to the site after dark "to find cars leaving the property," the news station reports. "The people in those vehicles told Channel 3 family members or friends who were helping to administer the vaccines called to tell them there were extra doses and they should come to receive a dose."


Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger told the news station that the vaccination team mistakenly told the cars that had arrived earlier to leave, thinking they would run out of doses. When the team realized it had enough doses thawed that needed to be used quickly before going bad, they hen called others to come and get vaccinated.

"They wanted to make sure that none of it would go to waste," Coppinger said, adding, "I understand the frustration of those who waited in line and did not get the vaccine (Thursday), and I can assure you we will learn from this experience. We will explore better ways to get the job done, and we appreciate the patience of the public as we move forward in performing this unprecedented service."

The screw-up merely illustrates problems with the national vaccine roll-out. One commenter in Oklahoma said that the state has no vaccination roll-out plan, and is allowing people to sign up for vaccinations using an unverified SignUpGenius web page that requires no verification nor screening based on age or whether one is a frontline worker.


From Your Site Articles
Related Articles Around the Web

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.