MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After a week of no vaccine activity, the Shelby County Health Department will resume administering vaccines Tuesday at the Pipkin Building.
If you don’t already have an appointment you’ll have to wait because all appointments for January are filled.
Only people who fall under that group and individuals 75 and older are eligible for the vaccine.
On Friday the health department said they will get 8,900 doses per week through the end of January from the Tennessee Department of Health
.The health department plans to administer up to 4,000 doses with the rest going to hospitals.
Over the weekend the Shelby County Health Department said all appointments for January are filled, and say they “will continue to provide daily updates, announce when more appointments are available and provide another signup opportunity.”
Baptist Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Steve Threlkled says it’s important to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.
”We’ve got to get as many people the vaccine as we can because it is the ultimate way out of this mess,” he said. “Once we get people vaccinated twice they are protected with 95% efficacy.”
As of Thursday, 206,128 Tennesseans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 4,561 have already received the second dose.
In Shelby County, 1.63% of residents have received the first dose, and 0.02% of residents have received the second dose.
Threlkeld says the big concern is not having enough vaccines to give to people for the first time and for everyone that is due to receive their second dose.
“I think we have to be careful though before we go after and release every single last vaccine that we have because it gets us into the potential danger of running out of vaccine and more into the British idea of just not worrying about that second vaccine,” said Threlkeld.
He says he’s received his second dose and like many, he said he’s had no side effects, aside from minor soreness.
“There are reasonable amounts of people who’ve had allergic reactions to this and that’s important obviously, we have to be careful about that, but again we don’t have any proven deaths in the entire country from this vaccine rollout now into the millions,” said Threlkeld.
He says even after people get the first and second dose of the vaccine he recommends continuing to social distance.
”The vaccine is 95% effective at preventing you from getting clinical illness,” he said. “The reason we don’t just say go and do whatever you want to do is that there are in fact those 5% of people who can clinically fail.”
He also says herd immunity has been estimated at 70%, but he feels that number needs to be higher.
”Even with 95% vaccine efficacy, you’ve got to go a little bit higher than 70% you’ve gotta get 75-80% of people vaccinated to account for just a small rate mind you of failure,” said Threlkeld.
Monday afternoon SCHD Director Alisa Haushalter told county commissioners it is unknown when people can sign up for vaccinations in February because they don’t know what supply will be in yet.
Haushalter also said they will open the next phase of vaccinations when appointments for the current phase begin to drop off, at which point the department will assess supply and perceived saturation.