MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County health leaders still don’t know if the higher than usual COVID-19 case numbers we’re seeing are a fourth wave or temporary.
As daily case averages climb, vaccinations continue.
For the rest of the weekend, you don’t need an appointment to come to the Pipkin building for a vaccine.
Plus, there are thousands of dollars of gift cards being given away.
While tailgaters were finally back at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium for Friday’s game, vaccinations were also taking place at the game.
“It’s been steady. So it’s promising,” Tiffany Collins with the City of Memphis said.
The FEMA mass vaccination site at the Pipkin Building administered more than 500 shots before noon Friday. All of those people plus the 2,000 after them got $20 gift cards to Kroger or Walmart.
As those seeking a shot moved into the site, on the other side of the property tailgaters set up shot near the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
“I can tell you all you have to do is look over there and you can see where we want to go. We have to get on the other side of this,” FEMA Spokesperson Darrell Habisch said.
As people make the decision about their first shot, Pfizer is giving some idea of what vaccine maintenance may look like.
The company says a booster shot may be likely 12 months after a vaccination series.
Pfizer is what is being offered at the mass vaccination site.
“We do have to be ready for boosters. We do have to have them prepared and tested,” Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Steve Threlkeld said. “They are in fact doing that. That’s the nice things about the RNA vaccine platform is we can have a new vaccine ready in as little as six weeks or so.”
More than 285,000 people have been vaccinated in Shelby County.
More restrictions are being relaxed.
Health Directive 20 goes into effect on Saturday, and it allows buffets to reopen and indoor and outdoor dancing.
Shelby County has seen a gradual increase in daily cases. After Thursday’s jump to over 200, between Thursday and Friday the county logged another 183 cases.
“Day to day statistics can really make you dizzy without telling you anything,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “So what’s really much more important is the weekly trends.”
That new health directive also allows for event planners to host an event with 500 people or less to avoid submitting a plan for approval to the Shelby County Health Department.
The U of M expected about 1,500 tailgaters, and its plan was submitted and approved by the department.