New numbers show 60 percent increase in COVID-19 vaccinations in July

Memphis, Tenn. — There are new numbers showing that more people may be opting to get vaccines, coming as medical professionals continue to sound the alarm about the spread of the delta variant. There’s hope that it could stem the tide of what’s being called a coming “blizzard.”

New vaccine numbers from the City of Memphis show, perhaps, more people are opting to get a COVID-19 vaccine over time after a tweet from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland showed the number of people getting a COVID-19 vaccine in July jumped from 5,541 doses in the first week of the month to more than 9,114 during the last week.

The numbers amounted to a 60 percent increase.

Though vaccination numbers in Shelby County remain stubbornly low, with just 36 percent of people fully vaccinated, this, said Dr. Manoj Jain, medical adviser to the City of Memphis and a member of the joint COVID-19 task force, is a silver lining.

“We do know that people who are vaccinated can also spread the virus, but they do not get critically ill or require hospitalizations,” Jain said in an interview about the numbers Sunday.

It comes as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread, and the number of people requiring hospitalization after getting COVID-19, continues to rise.

In Tennessee, the number of people in hospitals with positive cases of COVID-19 surpassed 1,000 Saturday, according to data from the state’s health department, and ICU usage at was at 93 percent in Shelby County, according to the county health department.

Those things happened largely among the unvaccinated, according to Dr. Jain.

“If more people get vaccinated, then we have less people who are going to be infected and spreading the virus,” said Jain.

The numbers also came as the Shelby County Health Department was poised to release a new health directive, said to closely follow CDC guidelines recommending masks be worn indoors, even among those who are vaccinated, especially within what it calls areas of “high transmissibility,” shown on a map the agency produced to include the entire mid-south region.

“This is a blizzard that’s coming with the delta variant. … [W]e do not want it to do the damage of causing many people to get critically ill, hospitalized and die,” Jain said.