Shelby County Health Department awaits more vaccine shipments from state to restart drive-thru vaccine events

Growing frustrations with COVID-19 vaccine rollout

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department is changing how they are distributing the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday as the rollout of the vaccine continues in Shelby County.

We learned late Monday afternoon that the Shelby County Health Department has run out of the vaccine allocated for their drive-thru vaccine locations and they’re currently waiting for another shipment from the state.

People tell us they’re getting frustrated with how the vaccine rollout has gone thus far.

Monday, the Shelby County Health Department announced it was closing its two drive-thru vaccine locations, at Lindenwood Christian Church on Union Avenue and the Shelby County Health Department building on Sycamore View Road.

Shelby Co. Health Dept. closing two vaccine sites

There have been issues in the first week of the vaccine rollout in Shelby County.

On Saturday, hundreds of people waited hours in line outside Lindenwood Church, while many others were unable to get through the health department hotline to schedule an appointment.

“After many calls to the hotline again, they told me that there was not going to be any vaccinations today, that it would be later on in the week hopefully,” Patti Burke said.

We spoke to Patti Burke on the phone Monday.

Hundreds of people waiting in long lines to get vaccinated Saturday

Patti lives in Kentucky and has tried for days to schedule a vaccine appointment for her 86-year-old mother Becky Mayfield.

“It’s just hard living six hours away from my mom,” said Burke. “I’m just trying to coordinate it for her.”

When we called the vaccine hotline number Monday, at 901-222-MASK, this automated message machine answered: “Health department info hotline is not answering. This mailbox is full and cannot accept new messages. To disconnect press 1.”

“It is frustrating just because they do not let you know what is going to happen,” said Burke.

The Shelby County Health Department released a statement Monday morning, “The hotline is up and running, but the lines are jammed right now. Please tell people to be patient and call back tomorrow.”

The Health Department says there are no vaccine appointments available at this time and more vaccine drive-thru events will be announced later this week.

That leaves more questions for people like Patti Burke who are trying to help their loved ones.

“I worry about her staying in so much,” said Burke.

The health department says they have vaccinated 9,000 people in the span of seven days.

They are shifting their vaccination efforts this week to group settings including residents in long-term care facilities and their staff who are a part of the 1a1 priority group.

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