MEMPHIS, Tenn. — No appointment, no problem.
For the next three days, you can go to the Pipkin Building’s mass vaccination site and get a vaccine without an appointment from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
Thursday was the first day of this new availability, and the city offered about 500 slots during the three-hour period.
“I’m encouraging everyone to come out and get it,” said Sharon Hines.
Hines and her husband already had appointments for Thursday afternoon but she was happy to see the city expand access to people without appointments.
“When you don’t have to have an appointment why not just come on and get it down. It needs to be done,” she said.
The no appointment availability from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. is first come, first served and all you have to do is show up.
City officials hope this option encourages more people to come down and get vaccinated.
“I think more access is better access,” said Zachary Morgan who got vaccinated Thursday.
Better access for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet – young people.
In Shelby County, doctors say young people are the same group getting infected with these new variants are higher rates.
“Sometimes young people think they are superman or superwoman, and they will not get ill, but that’s not the case. This virus affects everyone, and what we need to know people will get infected and pass this on to others,” said Dr. Manoj Jain, COVID-19 Joint Task Force member.
FEMA officials say they can vaccinate up to 3,000 people daily at the mass vaccination site.
The City of Memphis said the total dosage administered at the Pipkin Building Thursday was 1,550.
Officials say they have this system down to a science, keeping lines moving as quickly as possible.
“You know it may take you a little longer, may take you 20 minutes, may take half an hour but you know what it’s worth it,” said Darrell Habisch, FEMA spokesman.
Habisch said they’re prepared for an influx of people who may come during the new no appointment availability from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this week.
He said there are more 150 military personnel on-site, working during various shifts plus they have the ability to open up to four drive-thru lanes at one time.
“If this backs up and around the entire block we will be prepared with the people and the medical personnel to keep these lines moving,” said Habisch.
Additionally, FEMA said they’re prepared to help those who don’t speak English as a first language, removing another barrier to getting the vaccine.
“We can connect you with the right personnel that can talk to you through the entire process and be there for you so don’t let language stop you from getting what could be a lifesaving vaccine,” he said.