Anxiety grows surrounding second vaccine doses in Shelby County

Many in Shelby County having issues getting a second dose appointment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More than 80,000 people in Shelby County have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Now, thousands are on deck to get their second dose and many don’t know when that will be.

WMC heard from several people who said they’re set to receive their second dose this week, but there aren’t any appointments left.

Only one day and one location is set aside this week for second doses, but appointments are filled, and that’s leaving thousands of people with worries.

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“Are we going to get the second shot? Is it even going to happen,” Tresha Mandel, who is trying to make an appointment for a second vaccine dose, said.

Of the more than 80,000 vaccine doses administered in Shelby County about 21,600 have been second doses.

As vaccinations ramp up every week in Shelby County more and more people are reaching the time frame for their second dose-21 days for Pfizer recipients and 28 days for those with the Moderna shot.

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This week only one day is set aside for second dose shots which is Saturday, February 13th at the Pipkin Building.

The Shelby County Health Department said those who got the Moderna shot before January 20 or Pfizer before January 27 are eligible for the second dose.

“Even if there were appointments available on February 13 it’s late,” one healthcare worker said.

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A healthcare worker who wanted to remain anonymous said she’s supposed to get her second dose of the Moderna vaccine Tuesday.

When she arrived for her first dose she was given a vaccination card with February 9 written as her second dose date, but by the time she left that had been crossed out.

“Once I got to the nurse who administered my shot I asked what time do I come back because there was no time,” she said. “She crossed it out and said it was incorrect and said somebody would be in touch with me.”

She said she was told she would get a notification when second dose appointments opened up, but when they did she said she didn’t receive anything and by the time she saw the information it was too late.

All the time slots were filled.

The same goes for Tresha Mandel who is helping elderly friends sign up for a second dose appointment.

“I double-checked their phone, I double-checked their email and they received no notification the second dose was available,” Mandel said.

Mandel’s friends are due for their second dose on Wednesday.

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This weekend Dr. Anthony Fauci said the time frames should be followed through other top docs, including local leaders, have said there’s leeway.

“It’s not absolutely crucial to receive it on that date,” Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph said. “Evidence shows you can receive it up to four days before or later.”

Last week the Shelby County Health Department said for every first dose administered a second dose is guaranteed in the county’s vaccine allotment.

Those waiting for those doses wonder if they’ll ever see them.

“When people don’t know things what happens? There are rumor mills, there is anxiety,” Mandel said.

The Shelby County Health Department has not responded to WMC’s request for comment about why second dose appointments are so limited this week.

Dr. Randolph told Shelby County Commissioner Monday there is a plan to set up a second appointment immediately after someone gets the first shot, but he said the Department is not there yet.

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