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Opinion | Now is not the time to let down our guard against COVID-19 | Otis Sanford

Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the federal mass vaccination site in Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you’re looking for proof that the Biden administration really cares about tackling the coronavirus pandemic - starting next week, look no further than the Pipkin Building area at the old fairgrounds. That is where the federal government will set up a massive COVID vaccination site that will double the number of shots going into arms.

Beginning next Wednesday, the site will operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week to administer at least 21,000 shots per week. The announcement of the expanded site came directly from the White House and the plan is to use a tent the size of a football field to accommodate to the under-served populations of Memphis.  

Now the key is to get more people to commit to taking the vaccine. For that, health officials and city leaders are counting on local celebrities, athletes, and public figures to set the example by getting the shot and encouraging others to do the same.

We’ve already seen plenty of missteps by local, state and federal governments in responding to the pandemic. But since Joe Biden was sworn in as president, a greater sense of urgency to combat the virus has been unmistakable. That’s not a political statement – it’s a fact.

But I say again, now is not the time to let down our guard. Let’s continue to play it safe – and get those shots in the arm. And that’s my point of view.

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.