MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department announced Thursday a new partnership that will make vaccines available to more Memphians.
“Our focus is on equity and access and for that reason, we are looking at special population groups including poverty, those who are homeless, those with special developmental different kinds of needs,” said Dr. Judy Martin with the Shelby County Health Department.
The partnership between the Shelby County Health Department and Southwest Tennessee Community College will make it easier for marginalized groups to get vaccinated.
“Our Whitehaven center is an excellent location for this project. It’s a familiar welcoming location of higher learning and is conveniently located in a well-known Memphis neighborhood and is easily accessible,” said Dr. Tracy Hall, President of Southwest Tennessee Community College.
Dr. Hall said the partnership comes at a time when demand is high.
“Southwest is the community’s college, and so efforts like this...this is what we do. This is Southwest and we are pleased to partner to make sure everyone in our community is served,” Hall said.
Vaccinations at Southwest Tennessee College will begin February 5 until the 27th, from Tuesday to Saturday, beginning at 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
The site is located at the Whitehaven Center on Finley Road and is only for those getting their first vaccine.
Dr. Alisa Haushalter said this new vaccination site comes as the state is working with a big-box retailer to provide vaccines to more people in the community.
“Our hopes are that that’ll be online next week sometime and as soon as that is up and running appointments will be made through the Health Department, but people will be able to access that retailer in their own community,” Haushalter said.
The WMC Action News 5 newsroom has received several calls with concerns from individuals who don’t have access to a vehicle and cannot drive to a vaccination site.
Mayor Harris said the county is looking at other options like curbside vaccinations to make vaccinations more accessible to everyone.
“It allows you to think about reconfiguration because a drive-thru is not the only way to distribute a vaccine appropriately for different kinds of people depending on their needs,” Harris said.
The mayor said he hopes those options will be available in the near future.
WMC Action News 5 reached out to the health department for more information on a plan for people who don’t have access to a vehicle to get vaccinated at a drive-thru but we have not heard back.