First COVID-19 vaccines administered in Grainger County

RUTLEDGE – Grainger County’s first COVID-19 vaccines were administered Tuesday, December 22 at Grainger County Health Department. 

Eight first responders from Grainger County Emergency Medical Services and Grainger County Sheriff’s Department received the Moderna vaccination Tuesday as part of the Phase 1a1 vaccination plan for Tennessee. Phase 1a1 allows county health departments to administer vaccinations to first responders, home health care providers, student health care providers and staff members and residents of group homes for the intellectually and developmentally disabled. 

Moderna is administered as a two-dose series. Each person who received the vaccination will need to receive a second dose in 28 days for the vaccination to be effective. Recipients were informed when they receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination they must receive the Moderna vaccine and not the Pfizer vaccine as the vaccines cannot be mixed. 

The vaccine is not U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, but may help prevent COVID-19. However, the FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine in anyone 18 years of age or older. In clinical trials, 15,400 individuals have received at least one dose of the Moderna vaccine. In an ongoing trial, the Moderna vaccine has been shown to prevent COVID-19 following two doses given one month apart. The duration of the protection is currently unknown.

Reported side effects of the Moderna vaccine have included injection site pain and tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes of the injected arm, along with a hard swelling and redness around the injection site. Recipients may also experience fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea, vomiting and fever. Most side effects will last one to two days.

In the remote chance a recipient has a severe allergic reaction, they could experience difficulty breathing, swelling of the face and throat, a fast heartbeat, a body rash or dizziness and weakness. Serious and unexpected side effects could occur as the vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials. Recipients should report side effects of the vaccine to FDA/CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at

(800) 822-7967 or ModernaTX, Inc. at (866) 663-3762. 

It is not recommended individuals who have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the Moderna vaccine or a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of the vaccine to submit to vaccination. 

The vaccine is not required and anyone who chooses to not receive the vaccine will continue to receive standard medical care. 

Moderna vaccine is not a live virus and does not contain SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, meaning it cannot give anyone COVID-19. 

Grainger County recipients were given the opportunity to use v-safe, a smartphone-based tool that uses text messages and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after receiving the vaccine. v-safe allows participants to inform the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if they are experiencing side effects from the vaccine. 

Tennessee Department of Health advises facial coverings should continue to be worn and social distancing should be practiced to prevent spread of COVID-19. Grainger County Health Department will continue to offer COVID-19 testing at no charge for those who wish to be tested. Anyone who would like to schedule a COVID-19 test should call (865) 828-5247.

Anyone who would like more information about the Moderna vaccination or to learn when they can receive a vaccination can call the East Region COVID-19 vaccine information hotline at

(865) 549-5343 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. COVID-19 vaccine administration data can be viewed at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/covid-19-vaccine-information.html. The site will be updated each Tuesday and Friday.