MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More vaccines are on the way to the Mid-South, but the vaccine rollout has been slow and disappointing.
In Shelby County less than 2% of the population has received the first vaccine dose.
The Shelby County Health Department got off to a feverish start, vaccinating first responders, health care workers and people over the age of 75.
However, Monday health leaders announced they ran out of vaccines, a common problem across the country.
A spokesperson for the Joe Biden transition team told CNN the president-elect plans to release nearly every available dose of vaccine when he takes office.
“I think the idea is, let’s try to get the maximum number of people vaccinated. We know 10 days after you get your first shot you are protected, 14 days you are very well protected up to 90 (percent),” said infectious disease consultant Dr. Manoj Jain.
Jain says he supports Biden’s plan, which is in stark contrast to President Trump’s current strategy of reserving enough doses to complete the second round of shots.
Both Pfizer and Moderna require a second shot at specific times.
If the drug companies cannot rev up manufacturing of the vaccine, under Biden’s plan they may have to lengthen the suggested intervals between shots.
“We don’t have good studies on that, but given the fact that we are in a situation where the pandemic is raging in our country we should try these new strategies,” said Jain.
Shelby County just surpassed 1,000 COVID-19 deaths.
While waiting on vaccines Dr. Jain offers said, ”Now until the next couple of months, we need to make sure that we’re socially distant. We’re masking. No large gatherings and just if we can keep that level of patience with us, we’ve come a long way. It will make a big difference.”
Biden’s transition team says they may hold a small block of vaccines for unforeseen circumstances and will utilize the Defense Production Act if needed to produce more vaccines.