Tipton, Shelby County leading the state in vaccine eligibility, demand goes up

Tipton, Shelby County leading the state in vaccine eligibilty

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Open appointments and lack of demand have caused the City of Memphis to open the vaccine to more people.

Now, those 45 and older and in phases one, two and three are eligible for the vaccine in Shelby County.

Thousands more will soon be eligible when the vaccine becomes available to anyone in Shelby County 16 and older on Friday.

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“There’s a huge pent-up demand. So Friday we’re going to start meeting that demand for all adults 16 and up,” Memphis COO Doug McGowen said.

City of Memphis preparing for increased demand vaccine expansion

The City of Memphis will allow anyone of age to sign up for a vaccine starting Friday which is something Governor Bill Lee said all counties must do before April 5, and something President Biden called for across the country by May 1.

“We have been given permission from the state to move forward at the pace we believe is appropriate,” McGowen said. “Since we had seen a dwindling demand in other phases and we had some open appointments we decided to move to phase three and 45 and up.”

On Monday more than 8,000 appointments remained through the City of Memphis.

McGowen said he’s seen lower than usual uptake on second doses, but in general, is seeing about a five percent no-show rate a week.

“The phenomenon we were seeing is not only were we not having our appointments filled, but we were having people double-booked triple book appointments and be no shows,” McGowen said “We were not vaccinating our goal of as many people as fast as we could.”

Last week nearly 40,000 vaccines were administered in Shelby County, with officials saying the 50,000 a week mark could be reached in early April.

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When appointments open up for those 16 and older, McGowen expects demand to exceed supply, but we are poised to receive thousands of more doses a week.

For those 16 and 17-year-old wanting a shot, only Pfizer has been approved for those under 18 and you will need a parent or guardian’s consent.

To find an appointment click here.

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