Mid-South business headlines: Shelby County ‘shortchanged’ in vaccine allocation

Mid-South business headlines: Shelby County "shortchanged" vaccines by the state

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - According to recent data reported by the Tennessee Department of Health, Shelby County ranks 84th out of the 95 counties when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Earlier this week, one of Shelby County’s top doctors, Dr. Jon McCullers told the Memphis Business Journal that the county is getting “shortchanged” by the state with the vaccine rollout.

LeBonheur's Dr. Jon McCullers encouraged by lower COVID-19 numbers, concerned about complacency

Memphis Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Greg Akers says the 95 counties should all be getting the same percentage of their population vaccinated at the same rate, according to TDH’s plan.

“A large county like Shelby County would be getting more -- a raw number of doses than a small county but the same percentage of Shelby County should be getting vaccinated as any other county,” said Akers.

He says there are some variables to consider: More doses have been given to counties that are considered socially vulnerable populations. Shelby County is one of those 29 counties in that category.

There’s also a federal program that allows different pharmacies to administer vaccines to those that work and live in skilled nursing homes, according to Akers.

When we asked him if Shelby County was getting the correct number of doses to vaccinate citizens, he replied...”Not even close.”

Adjustments made to vaccine priority group with allotments staying the same

According to TDH data, only 3.5% of Shelby County has been vaccinated.

“If you just look at the percent of population that has gotten the first dose, Shelby County is dead last -- 95 out of 95 counties, five times lower than the top county, ” said Akers.

He says health leaders say they are lobbying for more doses.

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