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

"I think the public is going to be pleased" | City of Memphis begins first full week in control of vaccine operations

UTHSC and other health partners will take on an expanded role after the state stripped the Shelby County Health Department of local vaccine distribution & oversight.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — "Very confident, very confident that things will be smoother," Mary Taylor said.

Monday, Taylor spent part of her 86th birthday getting her second and final COVID-19 vaccine dose at the Pipkin Building under new management - the City of Memphis.

"The bad news that has been associated with the county, and with the problems and everything, it would have to be better," Taylor said.

Taylor and others gave positive marks about their second vaccine experience, as the city of Memphis began its first full week in control of transporting and administering doses into arms.

"I feel like you are getting more response now that the city is taking it," Teri Hill said.

"This went very smooth today. It went wonderful. We were in and out probably in 15, 20 minutes," Jason Williams added.

Dr. Jon McCullers with the UT Health Science Center expressed confidence Monday as UTHSC is now a leading partner with the city of Memphis at the Pipkin site and others across Shelby County.

As UTHSC's role expands countywide, staffing needs also grow.

"We are going to have to double the personnel in order to take over the Pipkin site, so it will be a mix of some employed, some volunteer for those various roles," Dr. McCullers said.

Those with the city of Memphis said the public should expect a full week appointment vaccine schedule set out the Friday before, along with information gathered and checked at sites to ensure appointments are valid.

Staff will also turn people away if they show up more than hour before an appointment.

"I believe we can do a lot of things efficiently because both the city and UT are used to doing things at scale," Dr. McCullers said.

In addition to the vaccine operation and management changes, those with the city of Memphis say vaccine appointments will also transition to a different, more robust software system in the next week or so. 

If you are interested in volunteering or working on a site, you can find out more information at: https://uthsc.givepulse.com/group/events/455648

If you are eligible for a vaccine appointment and need to find out available slots at the various sites, go to: https://covid19.memphistn.gov/.

Where to get vaccinated The City of Memphis is now operating public COVID-19 Vaccination Sites, Mondays - Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Appointment sign-up links will now be released on Fridays at noon for appointments for the following week. Only citizens who meet the eligibility criteria will be vaccinated, and appointments are required.