County Commissioners express concerns with latest Shelby County vaccine loss, investigation

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 10:55 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Mayor Lee Harris answered a tough round of questions from Shelby County commissioners and the media about vaccine distribution.

“I do bear responsibility as one of the leaders in this community and I’m going to have to work hard to rebuild public trust,” said Harris.

Harris was in the hot seat Friday after the Tennessee Department of Health released a new scathing report including an investigation into stolen vaccines by a volunteer at the Pipkin Building.

“Again there was suspicious behavior, there was no witness to a theft or unlawful behavior, and they contacted law enforcement about what to do next and law enforcement concluded that there was insufficient evidence to do anything further,” said Harris.

He said he knew about the incident within a day or so after it happened, but who didn’t know was the Shelby County Commission.

Friday during a special called meeting commissioners expressed their anger about being left in the dark about the ins and outs of the department that they were elected to help oversee.

Harris announced during the meeting that the head of the Shelby County Health Department Dr. Alisa Haushalter submitted her letter of resignation.

Her last day in office will be March 15.

“Mr. Harris, Director Haushalter should be terminated immediately, immediately,” said Commissioner Mick Wright.

In the interim, Harris says there is an ongoing internal investigation of the health department.

“I have asked the Shelby County Health Department to engage in remediation planning and to move their focus away from vaccine administration until the remediation planning is concluded,” said Harris.

Harris says the interim Shelby County health director will be announced within the next 7 days.

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