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White House to open mass vaccination site at Pipkin Building in Memphis

This site expands the city of Memphis’ current operations to deliver up to 21,000 doses of vaccine per week.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Today, the White House announced that the Administration will be partnering with the State of Tennessee to build a new major Community Vaccination Center (CVC) in Memphis.

The Type II CVC will be at the Pipkin Building of the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Midtown Memphis. The site will operate seven days per week for a six to eight-week period. This site expands the city of Memphis’ current operations to deliver up to 21,000 doses of vaccine per week. The federal government will provide 3,000 doses of vaccine per day (21,000 doses per week) and personnel (medical and non-medical) to assist with site operation.

The White House has already deployed federal teams to work hand-in-hand with the state and local jurisdictions, and the site is expected to be up and running by Wednesday, April 7. Military personnel from the 3rd Marine Division will support the administration of these additional vaccines.

During this pilot period, the federal government will provide limited direct vaccine allocation to the site through FEMA—as we do through federal entities for other federal programs. This pilot CVC will primarily use federal staff in support of state and local agencies.

“We are committed to the equitable distribution of the vaccine and our top priority is to ensure everyone who wants a vaccine gets one,” said Gracia Szczech, regional administrator for FEMA Region IV. “Expanding the vaccination center at the Pipkin Building will help make that happen.”

The site was identified using a range of criteria, most central to those is the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). This tool was created to help emergency response planners and public health officials identify and map communities that will most likely need support before, during, and after a hazardous event. The index takes into consideration critical data points, including socioeconomic status, household composition, minority status, languages, housing type and transportation.

The goal of establishing these joint federal pilot centers is to continue to expand the rate of vaccinations in an efficient, effective and equitable manner, with an explicit focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind.

The Pipkin Building CVC site at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis will follow Tennessee’s eligibility requirements. To schedule an appointment for the vaccine, individuals can visit the portal at covid19.memphistn.gov. Those without internet access can call 901-222-7468 (SHOT) or 615-552-1998 between the hours of 9 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. seven days a week.

Ensuring Vaccine Access to Vulnerable Populations in and around Memphis:

  • Nearly a million people live in Shelby County, but just 17.5% of the County’s population has been vaccinated as of March 21st – one of the lowest rates in the state. Of the County’s 937,000 residents, more than 1 in 5 are in poverty, and 12.6% have a disability. Approximately 64% of the County’s population are minorities. 12.7% have limited English proficiency, and nearly 1 in 10 households in the County don’t have a vehicle.
  • Some of the site considerations for the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium location included adequate parking and access to public transportation – including the Memphis Area Transit Authority bus system, which serves the Memphis area.

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Response from the city of Memphis:

“We are excited to participate in Federal CVC program. This partnership will expand our operation at Pipkin to 3,000 doses per day, seven days per week for six weeks– that’s an increase of 21,000 doses over the 30,000+ we are receiving per week now. This also means we can redirect what we had been allocated to Pipkin to our other fixed sites and Community PODs, meaning increased availability all across the county. To date, we have surpassed 300,000 doses administered so far, and we are putting our foot on the gas to help us win the fight against COVID-19.”

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us getting the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of white cells (our infection fighting cells) that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.