MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The coronavirus vaccine site in Whitehaven at Southwest Tennessee Community College opens Feb. 5.
Although appointments for the Whitehaven site are already booked, Shelby County has expanded the vaccine requirements to those 70 and up.
Six local Walmarts have also opened vaccine sites and started administering vaccines Wednesday.
Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said she wants local hospitals to be part of the public vaccine rollout.
Haushalter said the first step is figuring out how to get hospitals more of the county’s weekly allocation of 11,900 doses.
She’ll meet with hospital administrators about that Friday. Haushalter said, “We have to get those doses widely distributed and we the health department can’t be the primary provider of the vaccine. We want it to be like the flu vaccine where you can get it at the pharmacy or hospital.”
In January the Tennessee Department of Health wrote two letters to hospital systems emphasizing the important role they play in getting the public vaccinated. In its second letter, which was sent this week, the department said hospitals that administer vaccines to people outside of paid staff must do so without regard to the payor and without billing patients.
Dr. Haushalter said the vaccines coming into the county are being administered as quickly as possible. Twenty-six members of FEMA will be here for the next month helping with administrative tasks such as data input.