Over 1 million vaccine doses needed to reach herd immunity in Shelby County

Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 5:25 PM CST
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SHELBY CO., Tenn. (WMC) - About three weeks after getting their first COVID-19 vaccine, many Memphis health care workers received their second dose completing their vaccination process. It’s going to take millions more doses of the current COVID-19 vaccines to reach herd immunity.

The Shelby County Health Department says about 650,000 people in Shelby County need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity, but with a vaccine that takes two doses, that’s well over a million shots needed just for Shelby County.

With the state only getting about 90,000 vaccinations a week, health officials said the rollout will be slow.

“It’s finally here and it was kind of a happy day,” said Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare physician Dr. Ravi Chauhan.

Some of the first people vaccinated in Shelby County are finished with the vaccination process for now. Second doses of the Pfizer vaccine went into arms at Methodist Germantown Tuesday morning.

Almost 170,000 people have been vaccinated in Tennessee. The Shelby County Health Department vaccinated over 9,000 people at two drive-thru locations which are now closed as the doses allotted for those sites have run out.

Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said there will be enough to administer the second dose when it’s time. Announcements will come from the department and make sure you keep the white card you were given after your first dose.

“It’s really critical to keep that card. It has different pieces of information on there including the lot numbers and the date one received the vaccine so they know to get the new vaccine four weeks later,” said Haushalter.

Shelby County logged another 390 COVID-19 cases between Monday and Tuesday and 20 deaths. Officials said it will take close to a year to get enough people vaccinated to rid the virus. At this point they said they’re at the mercy of the national supply chain.

“All current indications are the supply could be scarce for the foreseeable future,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.

The silver lining Harris said is more companies may get approval for their COVID-19 vaccines upping the supply.

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