FEMA mass vaccination site opens in Memphis

Federal mass vaccination site now open at Pipkin Building

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For weeks, the City of Memphis which runs vaccine distribution for all of Shelby County, has been pleading with the public to book vaccine appointments. This week, no different, even as a FEMA mass vaccination site opened here at the Pipkin Building Wednesday.

I’m encouraging everyone to take advantage of this wonderful, once in a lifetime, once in a pandemic opportunity that not many cities get the opportunity to take advantage of,” said Doug McGowen, City of Memphis COO.

A plea to the people of Shelby County, as the nation’s next federally run mass vaccination site, opens in the Bluff City.

The site can administer more than 20,000 vaccines a week, which is on top of the 30,000 already being administered at public sites across Shelby County.

But on its first day, the FEMA Community Vaccination Center at the Pipkin Building had hundreds of vacancies.

“Today we’ll talk about how we can engage groups so instead of individuals we can bring groups in for blocks of appointments,” said McGowen.

With the site doubling in size, some things have moved around at the Pipkin Building so we wanted to take you through what you will see if you choose to get your vaccination here.

Pretty simple, after coming into the site off Central Avenue you’ll be guided by military personnel to the tent which can vaccinate dozens of people at once. There’s a new waiting area after getting the shot outside the tent then you’ll be guided to exit onto Parkway instead of Southern Avenue as it has been.

And you very well may not see much of a line.

Site officials aren’t ruling out anything to get more people vaccinated including potentially allowing people to come without an appointment.

“More than 250,000 people have taken advantage to get at least one shot in their arm,” said McGowen. This is our opportunity to put our foot on the accelerator.”

More than 50,000 appointments were set for this week, thousands remain open across Shelby County at sites offering the vaccine of your choice -- Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

To schedule an appointment, visit covid19.memphistn.gov. For those without internet access, call (901) 222-SHOT or (615) 552-1998 between 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. seven days a week.

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