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COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Shelby County going smoothly under new management

The Shelby County Health Department is under investigation for its handling of COVID-19 vaccine distribution; city of Memphis takes over management of distribution.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County vaccine distribution is under new management: the City of Memphis

People who received their COVID-19 vaccine at the Pipkin Building Saturday were pleased with how the process went. Valerie Smith, a Shelby County teacher, received her vaccine and was pleased with the result.

"It was really smooth!" Smith said. 

On Friday, Shelby County Health director Dr. Alisa Haushalter submitted her resignation after an investigation involving the FBI was launched over the department's mismanagement of the vaccine. There was evidence found of stolen vaccines, children receiving it when they should not have, and thousands of doses wasted. 

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee made an impromptu visit to Memphis Friday to express his concern over the situation. 

"My reaction is real disappointment," Gov. Lee said. "Primarily disappointment for the people of Shelby County."

People like Smith are glad the distribution will likely improve with the new direction. 

"Because of all those little problems and mistakes they were making and medicine missing, so I thought they should take over for themselves," Smith said. 

The groups qualified to get vaccinated right now include individuals who are 65 years and older, teachers, first responders, and others in phases 1a and 1b

Dorothy Stigler received her second dose Saturday and said it went even better this time around. 

"They talk about the long lines you know waiting four and five hours," Stigler said. "That’s not good, so I don’t think they have that now."

People like Vishenia Huery hope the process will be better because of how important this distribution is.

"When you get ready to have any major activity you need to have a plan and as long as you have a plan of action everything should work fine," Huery said. 

The city of Memphis is reminding those who do not yet meet the eligibility requirement will not be vaccinated. If you qualify, you must show proof of an appointment upon arrival at the vaccine site. 

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