Shelby County making progress toward vaccine goal, COVID-19 task force says

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 12:43 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County is nearing the half-way mark of its goal to vaccinate 700,000 people.

David Sweat, chief of epidemiology and deputy director of the Shelby County Health Department, said Thursday the county is at 45.6 percent of the goal set by the Memphis-Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force.

More than 226,000 people are now considered fully vaccinated, and 319,000 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Shelby County COVID-19 update 5/6/2021
Shelby County COVID-19 update 5/6/2021(WMC)

Sweat said more than 71 percent of people 65 or older have now been vaccinated for COVID-19, and nearly 56 percent of people between 55 and 64 is vaccinated.

About 20 percent of the youngest eligible group -- ages 16 to 24 -- is now vaccinated.

Doug McGowen, chief operating officer for the City of Memphis, said FEMA will turn the Pipkin Building’s vaccine operations back over to the City around May 19. He said it will continue serving as a vaccination site for the foreseeable future.

The task force said they are making plans to administer vaccines to children 12 and up. The FDA is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine for use in younger teens by next week.

The Shelby County Health Department is considering dropping the remaining COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandate recommendations. A new health directive is expected next week.

Sweat would not confirm the contents of the new health directive when asked at Thursday’s task force briefing.

Shelby County reported 171 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and five more deaths. There have been 96,221 cases and 16,28 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

According to the health department, there are 1,582 active cases currently in Shelby County.

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