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78-year-old Memphis woman turned away twice from COVID-19 vaccine

“She waited in line again for five or six hours. Then, they turned her away again,” said Joe Kent.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Vaccination struggles continue in Shelby County. Local 24 News Reporter Brittani Moncrease spoke with a Memphis resident whose mother was turned away not once, but twice. She still hasn't received her vaccination. 

January 26 was the day challenges for getting the COVID-19 vaccine started for 78-year-old Anie Kent. 

Her son Joe Kent described her arrival for a 1:30 p.m. appointment at the Pipkin Center. 

“She registered early on over there when they opened up the Pipkin Center,” said Joe. “She was over there for like all day and night. They rejected her at the end of the night after she had waited for about five or six hours.” 

Why?

“They said that they were out of vaccines,” said Joe. 

Anie didn't get a new appointment and never received any updated information. 

She went back the next day thinking her initial appointment would still be honored. 

“She waited in line again for five or six hours. Then, they turned her away again,” said Joe. “She said it seemed like people of outside of the groups were all getting vaccinated. People from out of town were all getting vaccinated. She couldn’t understand why she wasn’t, her appointment as a resident in the age group wasn’t honored. She couldn’t understand that. Nor could I.” 

Despite the confusion, she kept trying.

“She has been trying diligently to schedule an appointment on the online system and never can get an appointment because they’re all full,” said Joe. 

Shelby County Health Department said 68% of those in groups 1a1 and 1a2 have been vaccinated. For those ages 75 and older, 40% have been vaccinated. 

“She’s frustrated,” said Joe. “We had a year to prepare for this, to do dry runs, plan, do whatever. I’m just really amazed that we haven’t been able to execute a distribution strategy here locally. It’s just kind of strange - Shelby County is far behind or behind other parts of the state and we’re the distribution capital of the world. I do not get it. I just do not get it. Hopefully, things will get better.” 

Joe is now in touch with the state to try to get his mother vaccinated. He's also exploring other locations. 

Early Treatment for COVID-19 An effective early treatment is available for persons who test positive and have the following risk factors: Anyone over age 12 with obesity, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or whose immunity is compromised by disease or prescription treatments.

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