MEMPHIS, Tenn. — "All of our numbers are trending in the right direction, so that's a good sign," Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said.
As COVID-19 numbers fall in Shelby County, an infusion of extra COVID-19 vaccines is expected soon.
Starting next week, the health department expects to get 3,000 more weekly doses from the state, and several thousand extra doses beyond that could also be in play elsewhere.
"We also know that the state is in contact with some big box retailers to provide additional support. They will also receive vaccine, but not part of our overall allocation," Dr. Haushalter said.
The health department is preparing for those added doses by planning to open more first dose vaccine sites to better match supply with high demand ZIP codes.
"One community that is underserved that we are working with is in the Whitehaven area," Dr. Judy Martin with the Shelby County Health Department said.
Then there are the more than 9,000 vaccine recipients in first priority groups who got their first dose between December 28th and January 3rd. Second dose appointments are now open for them at varying times between Wednesday and next Saturday at the Appling Emissions Station, the Pipkin Building, and Germantown Baptist Church.
"That's why it's critical right now that we scale up operations so that when we get more vaccine we can get it out to the community in a very clear, clean, and effective way," Dr. Haushalter said.
The health director said next month's expected boost of vaccines from the state is critical in catching up to the vaccinated populations in smaller surrounding counties.
"All of the vaccine we are receiving is getting out to the public, it's just that our proportion per population is lower because our population is so large," Dr. Haushalter said.
As other vaccine locations are considered in Shelby County, health leaders said important factors include traffic impact. At the current pace in Shelby County, it could take around a year to vaccinate the targeted goal of 650,000 people.