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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

"It makes my heart feel good" | Widespread COVID-19 vaccinations begin again in Shelby County - by appointment only

Supply limits temporarily stopped drive-thru vaccinations last week. Now, weeks of appointments are all filled at the Pipkin Building site through January.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — "The flow is really going well, really going well," Shelby County Public Health Nurse Betty Robinson said.

For Robinson, it's arguably the most important medical mission of her 32-year career.

"I think we are providing a great service to the community right now," Robinson said.

Beginning Tuesday morning inside the shelter of the Pipkin Building next to the Liberty Bowl, Robinson and other nurses administered hundreds of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses, with windows rolled down and sleeves rolled up.

"I just did a car - the mother and daughter - the mother was 93 years old, she was so excited, she was just giggling and going on and like 'oh wow, this is fantastic'," Robinson said.

Tuesday and through the month of January, every one of the available 720 vaccine appointment slots are filled to eligible first priority groups, including first responders, front line health workers and those 75 and older.

Those with appointments are strongly encouraged to bring proper ID.

"It says that this community is serious and they understand the threat of this virus in this community," Shelby County Health Department Chief Nurse Dr. Judy C. Martin said.

Dr. Martin said she's confident there will be enough vaccine supply in February from the state to provide the necessary second vaccine dose for the recipients this week.

"We are committed to serving this community," Dr. Martin said. "This is my community."

Dr. Martin added the mass vaccination is an important step, but not the final step, in getting pandemic under control locally.

"Whether you receive the vaccine or not, we need to stay masked and continue to social distance and we've got to stay masked because we are in this for the long haul," Dr. Martin said.

"At the current time, the guidance is that people have to receive a second dose. We will be looking for that supply to come to be able to assure people get the second dose unless that changes," Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter added. "That's our goal, with the caveat of, if there is a change in the protocol - then we will follow the change in the protocol."

Nearly 11,000 people in Shelby County are scheduled to be vaccinated by appointment at this Pipkin Building site through the month of January. 

If you are eligible and interested in an appointment when more are available, you can do so at: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/JanCOVID19Signup.

Those without internet access can call (901) 222-SHOT (7468).

For more information on the current eligible groups: http://www.shelby.community.

This registration is to sign up Shelby County residents for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Location: 940 Early Maxwell Boulevard Memphis TN 38104 Do not register for your second dose through this link. A seperate link will be provided at a later date for those who have already had the initial vaccine.