Vaccine eligibility now open to those 16+ in Shelby County

Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:46 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - All Shelby County residents 16 and up are now eligible for the COVID 19 vaccine.

While health officials say demand will be up, it’s still unclear if young adults and teenagers will have a large uptake in the vaccine.

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“It’s so exciting to think our teenagers and young adults are now eligible for the vaccine,” said Memphis mother Kay Gammill.

Kay Gammill’s 19-year-old daughter Emma will get her first vaccine right after Easter.

With her parents and grandparents already vaccinated in different phases, Emma’s shot has been long-awaited.

“It takes the pressure off because we have always been concerned with (her mother) as a front line worker just if one of us were exposed how would we manage that,” said Emma’s father, Neel Gammill.

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“Just like having older grandparents and I’m going to be a camp counselor this summer,” said Emma.

Emma has her reasons for getting vaccinated but says some of her peers are on the fence.

“I guess it’s more on the no side because they don’t know what to expect,” she said.

“I think that’s the question. What will the uptake be,” said Shelby Co-Deputy Director David Sweat

Sweat said he’s not sure if young adults will flock to the vaccine.

More | Vaccines available to anyone 16+ in Shelby County starting tomorrow!

“One of the issues of it is they say well I’m young and healthy so it’s okay if I don’t get the vaccine. Well, it’s not,” said Sweat.

He also hopes opening the vaccine to all can increase rates among communities of color.

In the county, 32 percent of the shots have gone to African American recipients, and 44 percent to white.

“We hope we will continue to get closer and closer to the demographics being mirrored,” Sweat said.

If parents sign up their 16 and 17-year-olds they must go with them to the vaccination appointments and sign a consent form.

To find an appointment click here:

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