As states rush to inoculate health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, Tennessee has prioritized building its own emergency reserve of the coveted vaccine.
Tennessee is the only state has that will hold back a small portion in “case of spoilage of vaccine shipped to facilities.”
Despite a federal stockpile created so states can use all of their supplies, Tennessee officials maintain that the reserve is necessary because of the risk of damaging the vaccine, which requires ultracold storage.
Yet in Tennessee, the first shipment of 975 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses went into the reserve. The second shipment of 56,500 shots that came in Wednesday was being distributed to more than 70 hospitals across the state.
However, critics counter that the state’s record case numbers, climbing death rates and overwhelmed hospitals should outweigh any concerns of favoritism or priority to build up a reserve.