SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County is the most populous county in Tennessee.
The Shelby County Health Department has acknowledged other counties are moving faster with vaccinations because they have much smaller populations.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris told WMC the county needs help from the National Guard and federal and state assistance to expedite vaccinations.
“We have a national crisis on our hands. We have a statewide emergency on our hands. I do think that is going to require additional partners to be brought forward,” said Harris.
Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey with the Tennessee Department of Health said they’ve already put in a request to the National Guard and are looking into getting help from FEMA specifically for Shelby County.
“I haven’t gotten confirmation on that yet, but I think that is if it hasn’t come through very recently, we expect that to be approved any day now,” said Piercey.
Something else coming to Shelby County is more supply.
”Beginning this week, and has been promised for the next two weeks so a total of three weeks we’re expecting to see a 15% increase, so for us, that’s an additional 13,000 doses a week,” said Piercey.
That increase will drive the weekly allocation to 93,000 for first doses in Tennessee. The other big question, when can Shelby County teachers be vaccinated?
“I think the most important thing to remember here is that vaccination does not have to be a prerequisite to reopening school, in fact, we don’t want it to be a prerequisite to opening school,” said Piercey.
As of now Piercey says the state may enter phase 1B for Tennessee teachers by March 1, a time frame echoed by the Shelby County Health Department.