SCHD prepares for another week of COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Updated: Jan. 3, 2021 at 9:50 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After the vaccine rollout hit some snags in the first week of availability, the Shelby County Health Department is prepared to continue distribution on Monday.

During the first week of the vaccine rollout in Shelby County, there have been some issues scheduling vaccine appointments.

Hundreds of people waited hours Saturday outside Lindenwood Christian Church on Union Avenue for their COVID-19 vaccination.

Some people did not know they needed to have an appointment before coming to the vaccination center.

Sunday, there were no lines at either COVID-19 vaccine center, with the process working much more smoothly.

“It was just so easy I couldn’t believe it,” said first responder Joe Chaney.

“It just went very smoothly, and I didn’t even feel the shot that I got,” said Germantown resident Yvonne McCrary.

“You would say it was very easy. Yes!” said Joanne Rhea.

First responders, health care workers and every one part of group 1a1 can get their vaccine at this time.

The Shelby County Health Department has also opened up vaccine appointments to people over the age of 75, funeral home and mortuary workers who are part of group 1a2.

People we spoke to were grateful to get their vaccine.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to go ahead and get it,” said Rhea.

“I’m looking to getting back to the fitness center and my volunteer work at the church and the hospital and all the things that I used to do,” said McCrary.

Representatives of the health department say there have been difficulties with the vaccination hotline phone number experiencing very high call volumes that have led to some delays.

“It’s just hard to get the registration,” said McCrary. “I tried yesterday off and on to get it at the health center in Bartlett, but couldn’t ever get on. I would get on and somebody else would get that time.”

As of Friday, 1.17% of Shelby County’s population had received a vaccine shot according to the State of Tennessee.

Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Infectious Disease Expert with Baptist Memorial Healthcare says he hopes the vaccine rollout can move more quickly, both locally and nationwide, to avoid more unnecessary deaths.

“We do expect some glitches nationally, locally and so forth but make no mistake, health care workers are tired of watching people die of this and we are impatient,” said Threlkeld.

Threlkeld is also worried about the county’s recent COVID-19 case increases.

In the last two days, Shelby County has seen a drastic increase in COVID-19 cases with 1,020 new cases reported Saturday and 978 new cases on Sunday.

“A big leap put everybody in a sort of nervous posture as we look forward,” he said. “And we expect, we hope as the vaccine is rolled out this is sort of the beginning of the end. The problem is there is a long way between here and the end of the end.”

The number to call to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination is 901-222-MASK.

That number is staffed seven days a week, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

But right now, the Shelby County Health Department says there are no appointments available. The details for more vaccination events are expected to be announced later this week.

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