MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Word about a state and federal investigation into the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Shelby County spread quickly. People at the Pipkin Building getting their vaccines told WMC about their concerns.
“I believe they did the right thing as far as taking those and throwing those away. And I think this one is a little bit safer,” said Daphnee Housley.
Housley got her first dose of the vaccine at the Pipkin Building. She believes things are in better shape now that the City of Memphis has taken over vaccine distribution from the Shelby County Health Department.
One of the concerns of the state of Tennessee is whether the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were stored properly, stored in the required very cold temperatures. After the vaccine is removed from cold storage it should be used within days. The state is investigating whether that happened. Investigators also want to know about 18 doses that were found after vaccinations were given on Thursday. The state said they were mixed in with other vials and did not match up with the site where they went.
The question did some people get expired doses.
“As to how much importance we would put somebody having on a slightly expired vaccination, I don’t think we can say, but my suspicion is that there will be a fairly nice grace period where the vaccine will have not lost its efficacy,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, an infectious disease expert at Baptist Memorial.
Whether any vaccine was stored improperly or any expired vaccine was given out to the public is something the state wants to find out.
Billy and Art Hays got their first shot and are not worried about any of that.
“We’re thankful we are getting them. Yes very thankful we’re able to get them,” said Hays.
One big change since the city took over is the long lines and waits seem to be gone.
“It was easy. I didn’t know it was going to be that easy,” said Harold Wooten.
Wooten says it took 15 minutes shorter than it takes him to drive home.
The state of Tennessee and a representative from the CDC will be overseeing vaccine distribution in Shelby County for now.