MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Health care facilities in the Memphis-metro area received their shipments of the Moderna vaccine Wednesday. Shelby County Health Department reported its doses of the Moderna vaccine came in Wednesday, same with Baptist Hospital in Collierville and Methodist Olive Branch Hospital.
“It’s definitely not the worst shot I’ve ever had,” Methodist Olive Branch ICU Nurse Rachel Felkins said.
Not the worst, but the shot may be the most historic one Felkins has ever gotten. Felkins was one of the first people vaccinated with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Methodist Olive Branch Hospital Wednesday morning.
“I’m very excited and very honored,” said Felkins. “I’m glad I was able to do that.”
While most of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare facilities in Memphis started vaccinating staff last week with the Pfizer vaccine, in Mississippi many hospitals were allocated the Moderna vaccine with most of its Pfizer allocations going to pharmacies to administer in long-term care facilities.
In Tennessee, the latest vaccine is mainly allocated for the remaining 40 hospitals which didn’t get the Pfizer vaccine, including Baptist Collierville, local health departments and long-term care facilities.
The Shelby County Health Department said its Moderna doses arrived on Wednesday. The department had planned to start vaccinating first responders and health care workers starting Monday, but other health departments will start sooner. State Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said local health departments will vaccinate through the holiday on Thursday and Saturday.
“As you can imagine this is a very difficult thing to ask employees to come in and do this, but we’re 100 percent convinced this is the right thing to do,” said Piercey.
A spokesperson for the Shelby County Health Department said Piercey’s comments are only for the health departments under the state health department. That does not include metro health departments like Shelby County’s. So, the original plan to start vaccinations on Monday stands.
SCHD wants to emphasize vaccines are not for the general public yet, and health care providers will be notified by their employers if they are to be vaccinated here.
As of Wednesday morning, 32,330 people have been vaccinated in Tennessee.