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Friday, May 28, 2021

Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network to host family vaccination event at Unicoi County Hospital on June 5

Ballad Health is furthering efforts to make novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines widely accessible and available in the Appalachian Highlands by offering a family vaccination day event on Saturday, June 5, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Unicoi County Hospital.

The vaccines are available for all community members age 12 and older, and appointments are not required. The follow-up appointment for second doses will be scheduled when people arrive for their shots.

Masks are still required in all Ballad Health facilities, which include community vaccination centers (CVCs) and community opportunities such as the family vaccination event.

“We are extremely excited to be able to offer this event to Unicoi County and its surrounding communities,” said Loveland Hobson, assistant vice president and administrator of Unicoi County Hospital. “Vaccines are the surest way through the COVID-19 pandemic – and our goal is to make the shots easy to receive and the process as convenient as possible.”

When Hobson assumed her role with Unicoi County Hospital last month, she announced a focus on extending the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network throughout Unicoi County, bolstering maternity care and early childhood development care in the region. The family vaccination event is a step forward in those plans, as Ballad Health’s vaccination efforts were developed with input from the children’s network’s pediatric experts. As a result, all Ballad Health CVCs and vaccination events are well-prepared for pediatric vaccine patients, and child life specialists will be onsite to ensure a child-friendly environment, with smaller syringes and distraction items on hand.

“I’m a pediatrician – and I’m also a mother,” said Dr. Patricia Chambers, chief medical officer for Niswonger Children’s Hospital and Ballad Health’s vice president of pediatric services. “The health and safety of children is my No. 1 priority, and I’m wholly confident in the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines – they’re key to protecting our children and communities from COVID-19.”

In addition to the family vaccination event, Ballad Health operates a CVC in the Mall at Johnson City, which is open Monday-Friday from 2-7 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, and online scheduling for eligible patients is also available on the COVID-19 page, as well as the Ballad Health mobile app on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. 

Community members must bring a photo ID when they arrive for their vaccine, and healthcare workers should bring their work ID badge. Second doses will be scheduled when patients check in, and everyone must be observed for at least 15 minutes after receiving the shot to monitor for any possible side effects. Children and teenagers from 12-17 years old must have a parent or guardian with them at all Ballad Health CVCs.

To date, Ballad Health has provided more than 43,000 first-dose and 41,000 second-dose vaccines to eligible people in the Appalachian Highlands.

Additionally, in continuing its ongoing fight against COVID-19, Ballad Health still maintains a strong presence in testing, with six drive-through testing sites in the region. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms and believes they might have been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call Ballad Health Nurse Connect at 833-822-5523. Community members can also schedule COVID-19 testing online by visiting the COVID-19 page or through the Ballad Health mobile app. All Ballad Health testing sites offer same-day results.

Furthermore, Ballad Health recently announced its Center for Post-COVID Care, which creates an access point to comprehensive clinical care for patients who are struggling with post-COVID symptoms. Currently in its initial phase, the center operates as a virtual care model where a navigator is assigned to patients with long-term symptoms and coordinates between primary and specialty care providers across a range of services, including pulmonary rehabilitation, behavioral health, cardiovascular care and support groups.

To seek care with the Ballad Health Center for Post-COVID Care or to learn more, patients and referring providers can call 423-952-2183 or email

COVID-19 news and updates will continue to be shared to the COVID-19 information page.

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