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First frontline workers in Chattanooga get COVID-19 vaccine Thursday
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Anderson receives the first vaccine at CHI Memorial. (Image: WTVC)

UPDATE (Monday, December 21st):

On their social media pages, CHI Memorial shared a video Monday featuring nurse Tiffany Dover, who was seen fainting shortly after taking the vaccine last week, which doctors and the CDC say can happen.

CHI Memorial says in the video's caption that Dover is "doing well."

Watch below:

The hospital further shared pictures of Dover surrounded by nurse colleagues who are showing their support of her.

Tiffany Dover (third from the right) is surrounded by nurses showing their support. CHI Memorial shared a video and images Monday, Dec. 21 featuring nurse Tiffany Dover, who was seen fainting shortly after taking the vaccine last week, which doctors and the CDC say can happen. CHI Memorial says that Dover is "doing well." (CHI Memorial image released 12/21/2020)

A spokesperson for CHI Memorial told us the video was made to clear up rumors circulating online. Dover has not appeared publicly since she fainted.

Tiffany Dover (third from the right) is surrounded by nurses showing their support. CHI Memorial shared a video and images Monday, Dec. 21 featuring nurse Tiffany Dover, who was seen fainting shortly after taking the vaccine last week, which doctors and the CDC say can happen. CHI Memorial says that Dover is "doing well." (CHI Memorial image released 12/21/2020)

Depend on us to keep you posted.

UPDATE (Thursday afternoon, Dec. 17):

It was a momentous day in Hamilton County, as frontline workers received their very first COVID-19 vaccines.

At 2 p.m., infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Anderson received one of the first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at CHI Memorial.

"I feel very confident that it was done safely I feel like it wasn't rushed and corners were not cut," Anderson said.

Anderson told reporters that this feels like the light at the end of a tunnel.

Dr. Lee Hamilton, Director of Hospital Medicine at CHI Memorial, was another one of the first five people to be vaccinated at the hospital on Thursday. CHI Memorial told us their goal was to vaccinate 250 healthcare workers by the end of the day, and a total of 975 over the next few days.

"I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude in the sense that literally there are a million dead and dying that won't have this opportunity that I have been afforded today," Hamilton said.

Stephanie LaChance spoke with Dr. Hamilton live to discuss what the experience was like for him.

LIVE INTERVIEW: NewsChannel 9's Stephanie LaChance spoke with{{ }}Dr. Lee Hamilton, CHI Memorial's Director of Hospital Medicine to hear what it was like to be among some of the first in Hamilton County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
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You can watch our earlier livestream here, or below.

During our livestream of the vaccinations at CHI Memorial, Nurse Manager Tiffany Dover while speaking to the media about receiving the vaccine mentioned she started feeling dizzy. She fainted, but thankfully one of the doctors behind her caught her.

"It just hit me all of the sudden, I could feel it coming on. I felt a little disoriented but I feel fine now, and the pain in my arm is gone," Dover said.

Dover soon recovered, and minutes later was able to get up and speak with us on camera again. The doctors there at CHI Memorial said this is not related to the ingredients in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

WTVC VIDEO: CHI Memorial nurse faints

According to the CDC, fainting can happen after many types of vaccinations and medical procedures. The CDC says although fainting has a variety of possible causes, it is usually triggered by pain or anxiety.

Dover also told us she has a condition where she often faints when she feels pain, so this wasn't a surprise to her that it happened. Stephanie LaChance spoke with her about the experience:

NewsChannel 9's Stephanie LaChance spoke with the nurse, who was able to get up on her feet and talk with us within moments of fainting.

Doctors we spoke to say such a medical condition is not unusual.

"It is a reaction that can happen very frequently with any vaccine or shot," said Dr. Jesse Tucker, Medical Director of critical care medicine at CHI Memorial. He also received the vaccine.

Doctors wanted to reassure those who saw it happen. "No reason to suspect that that's due to the vaccine whatsoever," said Dr. Tucker.

The Chattanooga area's other two major health systems - Erlanger and Parkridge - also began vaccinating staff members on Thursday.

Erlanger tells us their first vaccination happened at 1:48 p.m. Thursday afternoon. 

Suzanne Hornsby is a Chattanooga nurse working in the COVID ICU, and was vaccinated. Erlanger told us she volunteered to go first, and several of her colleagues quickly followed her lead.


Chattanooga's other major hospital, Parkridge, also shared photos with us of lead healthcare workers there receiving the vaccine Thursday:

Robert Magill, MD, chief of staff and medical director of hospitalists at Parkridge, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (Image via Parkridge)

Mindy Zychal, RN, BSN, nurse manager in the Medical intensive Care Unit at Parkridge Medical Center, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (Image via Parkridge)

Earlier in the day at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, healthcare workers there got their first shots. Read more about that here.

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) on Thursday announced that Tennessee's 95 county health departments should expect to receive the first shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on December 21st. The TDH said in a statement that smaller hospitals that are not receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine the week of Dec. 28.

RELATED: Rural Tennessee hospitals don't expect COVID-19 vaccine until after Christmas

It's also worth noting that the FDA says it found vials containing the Pfizer vaccine carried extra doses. Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey and Gov. Lee say that added 11,000 doses to Tennessee's supply that went out on Thursday.

The City of Chattanooga on Thursday announced a public relations campaign to encourage everyone to get their shot. Read more about that here.

Pharmacist with Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Parkridge. (Image via Parkridge)

EARLIER (9:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 17):

CHI Memorial announced Thursday morning that the first frontline workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Chattanooga will be at their hospital later on Thursday.

In an email release sent to our newsroom, CHI Memorial spokeswoman Karen Long says the employees will get the vaccines at 2 p.m.

Long's release did not say how many medical personnel will be getting the vaccine. It's also not clear whether those workers at CHI Memorial will in fact be the first in Chattanooga to receive the vaccine. But it is the first case of vaccine distribution in Chattanooga that we are aware of. 

This comes one day after the first medical worker in the state of Tennessee got the vaccine, in Nashville. Dr. William Polk was part of the placebo group for the Pfizer vaccine clinical trials. He received the actual vaccine on Wednesday at Clinical Research Associates.

NewsChannel 9 plans to be a the event at CHI Memorial Thursday afternoon, and we will update this story as we learn more.

Depend on us to keep you posted.

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