MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As Friday, February 5, 2021, comes to a wrap, that marks Day 39 of the Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
After a disastrous week last week filled with long lines and frustrated people, changes were made.
SCHD added more vaccination sites and those age 70 and above were added to the eligibility list.
There were still some glitches like appointment times going unfilled, people who aren’t eligible for the vaccine somehow getting the shot and the health department hotline being less than user friendly.
Plus, it was hard to miss the deafening call this week for teachers to get the vaccine.
“Ultimately the health department locally does not have the authority to make that decision,” Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter told the Shelby County Commission on Wednesday.
Haushalter said that state leaders said “no” to moving up teachers in the vaccination line in Shelby County, even though dozens of other Tennessee counties were able to bump teachers up the list.
“The state cautioned us in writing last week,” said Haushalter, “not to move forward through those other phases and begin to vaccinate teachers until we had more vaccinated in 1a1 and 1a2.”
Those phases include healthcare workers, first responders, funeral home employees and people over age 70, a category added by the state earlier this week. Prior to that, only those over age 75 qualified for the vaccine.
According to SCHD data provided to WMC Action News 5 by a member of the Memphis-Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force:
- 71,017 vaccine doses have now been administered in Shelby County, including 52,231 first doses and 18,786 second doses. Far more women than men in Shelby County are getting vaccinated, 63% to 36%. The racial breakdown shows:
- 40.7% of those vaccinated so far are white 20.3% are Black
- 16.5% are multiracial or Asian 22.5% are unknown
- The age breakdown shows:
- 3.1% of those vaccinated in Shelby County are 18 to 24 12.8% are age 25 to 34. 13.4% are 35 to 44. 14.6% are 45 to 54. 16% are 55 to 64. 13.1% are between 65 and 74. 19.1% are 75 to 84
- 8% are over age 85
State leaders, meanwhile, hear the growing call for teacher vaccinations.
“It is my hope,” said Dr. Lisa Piercey head of the Tennessee Department of Health, “and we are looking every single week, can we push further? Can we go to 65-plus and 1B which is the teacher category? And If I can do that in two or three weeks, I absolutely will do it as supply allows.”
Four other providers, including Church Health and Cherokee, are also providing vaccinations to Shelby Countians.
Walmart started giving out shots this week.