MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Vaccinations are beginning to ramp up at area long-term care facilities. After waiting weeks to hear when vaccines would arrive at their facilities, some Memphis sites will start vaccinating this week and next.
This week The Shelby County Health Department said it will start vaccinating people in congregant settings like at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Many of those facilities signed up for the federal partnership which deploys CVS and Walgreens pharmacies to administer the shots, and it looks like the vaccines allocated for that program will start going in arms soon too.
“We’re excited we’re very elated that we have a date, we can answer people’s questions,” said Russell Phillips Director of Resident Care at Harborchase of Germantown.
Officials at HarborChase of Germantown have been waiting weeks to hear when Walgreens employees would be able to come to the facility to start vaccinating staff and residents after being told long-term facilities would be some of the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The facility was told Monday vaccinations will start next Friday.
“We’ve been working on this for months,” said Phillips. “It’s our number one priority to keep residents and their families safe.”
The Tennessee Department of Health said the state’s long-term care facilities started vaccines last week with more ramping up this week. Even with more than a week left of waiting, Harborchase of Germantown said all of its 35 residents have signed up for a vaccine and staff is starting to sign up.
Monday Mississippi health officials made a plea to staff in its long-term care facilities.
“The employees are the mechanism in which folks can get COVID in nursing homes. So, it’s so very important that people who work in long term care settings to go ahead and get vaccinated now,” said Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
More than 20,000 vaccines have been administered in Mississippi. That is about 28% of the state’s current dosage.
Dobbs said nearly 45 long-term care facilities are slated for vaccinations this week. Governor Tate Reeves said the state’s vaccine rollout has been too slow. So, starting next week he said citizens 75 years old or older can start getting the vaccine.
“We need to stop trying to run people’s daily lives with government orders and start focusing on getting the vaccine out to as many people as possible,” said Reeves.
Those officials in Mississippi urge staff at long-term care facilities to take advantage of the drive-thru vaccination sites. One is scheduled at the DeSoto County Health Department Tuesday and Thursday.
To make an appointment click here.