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Memphis mayor says fixing vaccination hotline is a priority as city takes larger role in distribution process

Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 3:43 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says the city will work to fix the vaccination hotline number, 222-SHOT.

County health leaders say their phone system is overwhelmed and they can’t handle the volume.

Speaking during a virtual news conference Tuesday, Strickland said the city is prioritizing making the hotline more efficient for residents who need help scheduling vaccines or seeking additional information.

It’s the first time the mayor has spoken to the media since winter storms dropped nearly a foot of snow on the Bluff City, prompting a water emergency for all of Shelby County and postponing thousands of vaccine appointments.

Strickland along with other city officials addressed vaccine concerns during Tuesday’s news conference.

“I want to reassure everyone, if you have an appointment that will not change,” said Strickland. “From the public’s standpoint, citizens will not need to do anything differently. Our mission of vaccinating as many people as possible as quickly as we can is critical to keep this virus under control and to get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Related | State investigation uncovers 2,400 vaccine doses expired in Shelby County, other issues with vaccine management

Strickland says as the national vaccine supply continues to rise, officials are hoping to vaccinate between 40,000 to 50,000 people a week.

City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen says an improved appointment system is on the way within the next few weeks to help with efficiency when the county gets to a higher level of dosing.

“The state is developing an appointment system that is compatible with its record-keeping system,” said McGowen. “It also allows people to preload their appointment information rather than us having to take it on the spot.”

Dosing is expected to increase in mid-March when increased Pfizer production kicks in and the potential authorization of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The full video can be watched in the player above.

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