Shelby County COVID-19 vaccine doses are running out, health leaders say

Watch: Shelby County COVID-19 vaccine doses are running out, health leaders say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Vaccine doses are running out with no definitive timeline for when the next batch will arrive.

Memphis-Shelby County leaders said at this rate, it could take up to a year to get to a community-herd level immunity.

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Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said we are at the mercy of the national supply chain.

Shelby County expects to receive about 7,000 doses from the state each week but this is a fluid situation and nothing is set in stone.

“All current indications are that the supply could be scarce for the foreseeable future,” said Harris.

Harris explained that the frequency and amount of vaccines delivered to the area depend on the national supply chain.

He said right now the state expects to get 90,000 doses a week and hopes 7,000 doses will get delivered to the Memphis-Shelby County area each week.

“With 90,000 doses received statewide per week it would take us at least a year to reach herd level immunity given the double dose requirement,” said Harris.

Initially, Shelby County received a little over 12,000 doses. So far, over 11,000 people were vaccinated including healthcare workers, first responders and people over the age of 75.

Despite this progress, Harris and health leaders wished the distribution process was more planned out but it’s something they can’t control.

It’s up to additional vaccine producers to open the supply chain more.

“It’s difficult to plan if I don’t know when a vaccine will be available through the health department, hospitals and so on,” said Health Director Alisa Haushalter. “So predictability would help the general public and healthcare providers know when to expect the vaccine.”

Harris hoped single-dose vaccines would be approved soon to help with the vaccine distribution process.

When more vaccines arrive, the health department will have a distribution site at the Pipkin Building off Tiger lane.

Shelby County Health Director Alisa Haushalter issued the following statement Wednesday:

We are currently administering the last doses in our first allocation of vaccine from the state. We have made multiple requests for more vaccine. However, at this time, we have not received word from the state regarding when we will receive additional vaccine and how much we will receive.

We are hopeful that this will change and that more information will be provided. When we receive additional information, we will provide updates. When we receive additional vaccine, we will distribute the vaccine following the phased criteria established by the state. -Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department