City’s website shows Moderna vaccine only offered at one of 13 first dose locations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If your first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine was Moderna, you may have some issues getting your second dose from the city. 

The city’s scheduling system shows no second doses of Moderna available for more than a week at the city’s pod locations.

“This past week, we posted the opportunity for thousands of doses of Moderna,” said Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen.

McGowen says although it doesn’t show in the scheduling system, there’s no issue with getting the Moderna vaccine in Memphis. He says there’s a high demand for the specific brand of the vaccine from city partners.

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“Many of our partners at the pharmacies, clinics, and doctor offices are requesting Moderna. The number is in the 6-, 7-, 8-, 9,000 of the 19,000 [vaccines] so it’s equally split Moderna versus Pfizer.”

But according to the city’s website, the Moderna vaccine is only offered at one out of 13 first dose locations. Chief McGowen says they’ve been receiving a significant amount of Pfizer because it’s easier to handle for the city.

“That’s because we have the capacity and capability to handle and administer Pfizer,” he said.

He says people have had better luck getting the second dose of Moderna at third-party locations like Walmart and drugstore chains.

Although there isn’t an opportunity for people to schedule a second dose of Moderna at the city’s public pods, he says there will be announcements for second doses of Moderna in the coming days for those who need the vaccine.

“This past week we posted the opportunity for thousands of doses of Moderna and we had several hundred people take us up on that. We’ll continue to do that to make sure that those who need a second dose receive it,” said McGowen.

This hasn’t stopped the city from putting shots in arms. Thursday, they announced they are nearing the 300,000 mark for doses given and that’s expected to rise drastically next week as everyone 16 and older become eligible.

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“Moving into next week, we open up appointments on Friday, and next week we vaccinate everyone 16 and up. We encourage you to take advantage of those appointments,” said McGowen.

The city says slots are expected to fill quickly as they open appointment scheduling to everyone 16 and older Friday.

“We should expect to see an uptick in the amount of vaccines available to us. We’re working on ways to have sufficient throughout put to get those vaccines in arms. We’ve had 44,000 doses administered in the last 7 days which is a high watermark for our distribution. As we open up to all phases and ages, we’re not going to stop,” said McGowen.

The city says if appointments are filled, there will still be appointments available to the public through the pharmacies and clinics that will also have the vaccine.

“Our inventory of vaccine is coming down and we expect a first big dose of that to increase in the first week of April. Over the Easter and MLK weekend, there will be a limited availability through the public pods,” McGowen said.

He says as many vaccines as there are on-hand, that’s how many appointments that will be available. McGowen says there’s an expectation for the city to possibly run out of vaccines by Thursday of next week.