City of Memphis expected to talk on mass vaccine site today

Memphis, Tenn. — The White House announced Wednesday that the Pipkin Building vaccine site at the Liberty Bowl Stadium in Memphis will become a mass vaccination site.

That means that the vaccine site, or Community Vaccination Center, will operate 7 days a week for 6 to 8 weeks.

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It also allows the City of Memphis to deliver up to 21,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses per week.

That number is at least three times more doses than the City of Memphis can currently give out at the vaccine site.

More information about what this means for the Bluff City is expected to come later today.

FOX13 will also have Dr. Threlkeld on FOX13 to get his thoughts on this major news. You can watch LIVE on Good Morning Memphis.

The White House said that, at that rate, the federal government will provide 3,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine per day and will also provide medical and non-medical personal to assist with site operation.

According to the White House, during this trial period, the federal government will use federal staff in support of state and local agencies.

“They’re doing three new mass vaccination sites across the country. We’re one of the new three, and I think their goal is to get to 100,” Jeff Warren, MD with the Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force.

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Nearly one million people live in Shelby County, but we have one of the lowest rates of vaccinations in the state.

“The more people we get vaccinated, the more rapidly we vaccinate, the safer our community will be,” said Warren.

As of Tuesday, just 11% of residents had been fully vaccinated. One contributing factor this site will address is the lack of transportation.

“This allows us to canvas neighborhoods, have a bus in their neighborhoods and say we will have a bus in your neighborhood, sign up now,” said Warren.

“We are committed to the equitable distribution of the vaccine and our top priority is to ensure everyone who wants a vaccine gets one,” said Gracia Szczech, regional administrator of FEMA Regional IV. “Expanding the vaccination center at the Pipkin Building will help make that happen.”

The White House said that Community Vaccination Center sites were selected using data found through the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, a tool that identifies communities that will most likely need support before, during and after a hazardous event.

The goal of creating these mass vaccination centers, according to the white house, is to continue to expand the rate of vaccinations in an efficient, effective and equitable manner with an explicit focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind.

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The Pipkin Building will continue to follow Tennessee COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements.

Addressing the decision to turn the Pipkin Building into a mass vaccination site, the White House noted that as of March 21 Shelby County had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state of Tennessee with just 17.5 percent of the county’s near one-million residents having been vaccinated.

To schedule a vaccination appointment, click here.

The first federally run mass vaccination center in Tennessee at the Pipkin Building is expected to be up and running by April 7.

On Wednesday afternoon, some drivers waited 30 to 40 minutes to get their shots at the Pipkin Building.

“They are doing great in there but they are going to get swamped, I mean you could look at this line everything is going to get swamped,” said Chris Dauquot.

“First one I got at Appling and I was in and out in 10 minutes, this one is a little bit longer,” said Debora Coffman.

Coffman supports the expansion. She said it will give people like her more time to get vaccinated during the busy work week. Wednesday afternoon, she left 30 minutes early from work to get her second shot.

“As it progresses, more and more people are going to get more shots. So the more they can accommodate, the more people it will help,” said Coffman.

Coffman said the more people vaccinated the better.

“Well, I think anything you do, to do your part to keep the virus from spreading and others from getting sick and yourself, you should do,” said Coffman.