Shelby County getting ready for more childhood vaccinations

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:01 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County is getting ready for some changes in vaccine eligibility. The FDA reviewed Moderna booster shots Thursday and Johnson and Johnson boosters are expected to be reviewed Friday

Along with those boosters, FDA will also review Pfizer vaccines for kids five to 11 later this month.

“I will tell you that the state and us here in Shelby County are already gearing up to be prepared to roll out that vaccine to that age group as soon as it becomes available,” Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said.

Dr. Taylor said the county is still doing poorly in vaccination rates. Now, ten months after the initial rollout, 44 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

The chance to open the vaccine up to more age groups will help us get closer to herd immunity, 70 percent of the population vaccinated, but increased eligibility will not happen for another few weeks.

In the meantime, Shelby County is continuing to see a decrease in COVID-19 cases including in kids.

“Today we report 553 active pediatric cases,” Dr. Taylor said. “It’s down from 823 last week and 1,140 two weeks ago.”

Current average daily cases of 143, positivity rate of just over five percent and the virus reproductive rate of .75 are also going down week over week.

Between Wednesday and Thursday 122 cases were logged in Shelby County.

While vaccinations increased a bit during the summer case surge, Taylor said because so many people go sick, more people have some immunity from the virus. It’s helping us now, but it’s not guaranteed how long.

“Natural immunity tends to wane a lot more quickly than vaccine immunity and we also have to be on the lookout for any variants that could challenge any vaccine we’re giving and of course challenge natural immunity,” Dr. Taylor said.

Dr. Taylor said the pandemic trends started going down once the mask mandate was implemented in late August, so it will stay in place for the time being and as we get closer to the holidays.

All who are eligible are encouraged to get the vaccine including those who have had the virus.

For more on the vaccine and where it is available currently you can click here.

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