MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County health officials say they have to get through the majority of the population that is eligible for the vaccine now before moving on to teachers.
Tuesday, Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said it’s likely the county will move into phase 1-B, which includes teachers, next month.
”So at the current time, we anticipate we will likely move into the category that teachers are in, or that phase probably the beginning of March,” said Haushalter.
Haushalter went on to say the Tennessee Department of Health recommended the county hold off on moving up phases until they’ve completed phases 1a1, 1a2 and have a majority of the 70-plus population vaccinated.
“Their recommendation to us locally two weeks ago was not to move to teachers before we completed those categories,” said Haushalter.
With Nashville announcing they will soon vaccinate their teachers, the pressure to vaccinate educators in Shelby County is at an all-time high.
On Monday, Shelby County commissioners passed a resolution asking the Tennessee Department of Health to immediately vaccinate all K-12 teachers. On Tuesday, Tennessee Health Department Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey repeatedly said the priority is to vaccinate seniors first.
“Right now the responsible and loving thing to do in Tennessee is to get our seniors vaccinated first,” said Piercey.
She said as more supply comes in they will adjust the timeline into phase 1-B.
In the meantime Arlington, Lakeland and Millington school districts are planning to open up a vaccination site at Arlington High School.
Shelby County health officials met with all three superintendents to tour the site.
Arlington says they are doing as much prep work as possible so they can begin vaccination as soon as they’re given the green light.