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'Extremely concerning we are in this situation' | Eligible Shelby County seniors struggle to get second vaccine dose

Shelby County mayor acknowledges high demand and supply challenges could delay second dose appointment slots for some in eligible groups.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — "It's extremely concerning that we are in this situation," Brian Crist said.

Crist lives in Shelby County and alerted Local 24 News about concern for his 79-year-old neighbor to get her second vaccine dose on schedule.

Crist said they waited six hours at the Pipkin Building January 28th to get her first dose, and he is worried she and others could be squeezed out unless the Shelby County Health Department expands its second dose distribution days.

"People who had such a sense of relief when they were able to get their first dose never in a million years were expecting that they would have to fight just as hard to get a second dose," Crist said.

Crist said appointments filled within hours for this week's second dose distribution Saturday at the Pipkin Building, and is uneasy that demand will surpass the available slots - or vaccine supply - in the coming weeks.

"You can see what a battle it is to get the appointments," Crist said.

His vaccine appointment challenges aren't isolated.

Monday, another person in Shelby County said after several failed attempts across several days to get through and make a second Pfizer dose appointment through 901-222-SHOT, he finally got lucky - in another county.

"The real issue is vaccine supply is not ample, and that's going to be a very tough issue for a while," Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said.

Late Monday afternoon, Mayor Harris acknowledged with supply challenges, some people may get their second dose appointments a few days behind schedule, and he asked the public for patience.

"We have to wait until we have a great expectation of vaccine before we outlay vaccine appointments, but I do think that is coming," Harris said. "I know this is very hard, but people have to check Shelby.Community more than once."

Last week, the Shelby County health director said help is on the way as more vaccine supply arrives from the state in thee coming weeks.

75 people will be hired in the coming weeks to help administer doses and answer the phones to set up appointment. 

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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