Residents with vaccine appointments turned away after hours of waiting

Residents with vaccine appointments turned away after hours of waiting

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The line at the Pipkin Building stretched around the block until word that the vaccines were all gone.

Long lines. Short tempers. Folks who’d signed up in advance to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday waited all day only to be told “sorry” all the vaccine is gone.

Around 7:30 Monday night, cars were lined up at the fairgrounds in Midtown. Anxious people waiting for their shots. Shots they never got because they were told to leave.

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Earlier in the day, the line of cars stretched out to Central Avenue.

A busy day for health care workers administering the vaccine.

Bob Frank says his mother made her appointment three weeks ago.

After waiting four hours in line, they were turned away.

“‘Sorry.’ They know how many doses they have. There’s only one way in, so why can’t they manage the line? Why can’t the county manage this properly?” Frank wrote to our news department.

Laurabeth Yager says her husband made an appointment for Monday at the beginning of the month.

“We waited in line two hours for his time slot only to be turned away along with hundreds of others,” she said. “Our only option is to go back first thing in the morning and wait again. They should never have opened the other slots.”

And Steve Miller said, “My 85-year-old mother-in-law with COPD and on oxygen had a 3 o’clock appointment. Got there 2:45. By 5 p.m. still had a 3-hour wait. Her portable oxygen was running out. Had to leave. Absolutely ridiculous.”

And another email: “We had confirmation for our shots and were sent away after three hours of waiting. Something is BAD wrong.”

We reached out to the health department multiple times Monday night for an explanation about what happened.

“The Shelby County Health Department is committed to vaccinating as many persons as possible as quickly as possible. Today more people than expected presented at the Pipkin Building to receive vaccine. This resulted in an increase in the number of vaccines delivered. However, there was also an unexpected increase in wait times.”

The health department also says “additional staff will be scheduled to address the issue going forward.”

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