Mass COVID-19 vaccine site officially opens today in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A mass vaccination site is opening today in Memphis at the Pipkin Building.

The site had a soft opening Tuesday, with many people getting into the facility a day early for COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

The City of Memphis said crews were on hand to run through everything and make sure everything goes smoothly on Wednesday.

“It’s a simple process. I’m glad it’s here. It’s close. Libertyland, Pipkin Center is the center of Memphis. Yes, it’s a big deal,” said Jason Saulsberry, who came to get vaccinated Tuesday.

The site is set to open at full capacity today.

This the first federally run site of its kind in Tennessee, and only a handful are open across the nation.

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FEMA says it will run 12 hours a day, seven days a week for six to eight weeks.

While we were at the site, some 130 military personnel arrived. Some of the members of the 2nd Marine Division have come home.

“We have a few Marines and sailors that were actually born and raised here. We have one who can see the hospital he was born at from our hotel, so it’s really sweet. He’s happy to be home,” said Lt. Sydney Murkins with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Based out of North Carolina, Lt. Sydney Murkins says this is what they signed up to do, and they are proud to step in and help.

“We as Marines and sailors joined the military to support the American people, and actually being here in Memphis, Tennessee, and seeing the impact that we are having, there’s nothing like it,” said Lt. Murkins.

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“It was awesome. It was super smooth. We had no issues at all. The longer time was sitting here waiting while they observe us,” said Griffin Edwards who got his first round of vaccines Tuesday.

Crews said they plan to vaccinate 21,000 more with the addition of the brand new mass vaccination site,. They hope to average about 3,000 people a day. Keep in mind if you want to get a shot the process is still the same: you have to sign up online.

Anyone age 16 and up can sign up to get vaccinated.

Last week the White House announced sites like this are opening because only 11 percent of the U.S. population is vaccinated.

You can sign up for an appointment online, or by calling 901-222-SHOT.

The mass vaccination site will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

MATA has also teamed up with local organizations to transport around 6,000 disabled riders to the building.

City leaders said they hope to vaccinate around 21,000 people each week and reach herd immunity by August.