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

Shelby County Health Department catching up on vaccine distribution after winter storm delays

The target is to administer 40,000 doses this week as additional sites take on demand following vaccine appointment postponements.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tuesday, the Shelby County Health Department provided an update on the county's efforts to vaccinate eligible groups, and continue to see positive declines in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

As of Tuesday, active COVID-19 cases were down to 1,531, a big improvement from where the county had been during holiday and post-holiday surge.

"As far as progress, we are grateful for the progress. We are not out of the woods by any means - getting closer to closer to light at the end of the tunnel, and we welcome that light," David Sweat with the Shelby County Health Department said.

107,015 vaccine doses were administered to date, including nearly 31,000 people who are now fully vaccinated. That includes 20% of vaccines distributed to those between 65 and 74, 40% of those 75 and older, and in the 1a1 and 1a2 priority groups, a little more than 68% of those eligible people have been vaccinated currently.

This week, David Sweat with the Shelby County Health Department said the goal is pushing out 40,000 administered doses because of missed opportunities during winter weather last week.

Sweat added the COVID-19 South African variant detected locally this week came from a source case who traveled to the western U.S. but to date there is no evidence or proof that strain has been transmitted further locally.

Sweat also noted Shelby County and state officials were meeting Tuesday and that more information was expected later on the 1,315 COVID-19 vaccine doses which expired and had to be discarded last week.

"We’ve been criticized for a year about one thing or another. We understand that the community gets frustrated with us over one issue or another, but I can assure you that everyone in the health department, everyone in the Mayor (Lee Harris') administration is working really hard to do the best job we can do for our citizens," Sweat said.

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.