SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - More than 24,000 people in Shelby County have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. The Shelby County Health Department said it will soon be out of its current allotment.
Shelby County received more than 12,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
This week workers have taken the vaccines to long-term care facilities, but by Wednesday afternoon SCHD Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said the last doses were being used with no timeline on when the county could get more.
“We are currently administering the last doses in our first allocation of vaccine from the state,” said Haushalter. “We have made multiple requests for more vaccines. However, at this time, we have not received word from the state regarding when we will receive additional vaccine and how much we will receive. We are hopeful that this will change and that more information will be provided. When we receive additional information, we will provide updates. When we receive additional vaccine, we will distribute the vaccine following the phased criteria established by the state.”
In one week the Shelby County Health Department said it vaccinated 9,500 people at two drive-thru locations. It’s still just a fraction of the 650,000 who need vaccinated here to reach herd immunity.
“The demand is much greater than the supply,” Haushalter told Shelby County Commissioners Wednesday.
Commissioner Tami Sawyer asked Haushalter about the questions of vaccination sites and equitable access for all residents.
“We have an agreement with the City of Memphis to use the Pipkin Building at Tiger Lane as a permanent site,” said Haushalter. “We are also in the process of having an agreement to have a permanent site in the Whitehaven area. We’ll be working with partners to do what we call pop up or roving sites so we can reach different geographic areas.”
Commissioners also asked Haushalter about communicating better about the availability of vaccines. She said they’re hoping to work with different partners like churches and food banks to get more information out but always recommends the department’s website for the latest information.
There’s a lot of focus on vaccinations at long-term care facilities this week, as the Shelby County Health Department starts vaccinations in congregant settings.
Those at Whitehaven Community Living Center Hope this is the first day on the road back to normal. WMC Action News 5 was invited in exclusively as the facility kicked off its vaccination process.
“Our residents, family and staff have been waiting nine months for this day and this moment,” Regional Manager Nicole Cirvus said.
Since March, visitors have not been allowed in Whitehaven Community Living Center. Its parent company Community Eldercare Services told WMC Action News 5 when they found out about a national partnership with CVS and Walgreens to get vaccines into long-term care facilities fast it immediately signed up.
About 60 people were vaccinated there Wednesday including almost all 47 residents.
“That’s what I wanted to do for both my family and my coworkers,” Employee Shirley Wallace said.
The Shelby County Health Department said it’s administering the last of its current vaccine allotment to those facilities not part of the federal partnership.
Haushalter said the department is still confident they’ll have enough doses to administer the second doses to those who have already received the vaccine.