Vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccination process continues and the county will be moving into Phase 1b, including teachers and residents 65 and older. Information about eligibility categories and scheduling is available at the Tennessee Department of Health and the Shelby County Health Department.
In Shelby County, more than 100,000 doses have been administered. While a variety of process problems continue, the Health Department has made a few changes since our last update.
First, it launched the VaxQueue waitlist to allow citizens to register in advance and receive alerts when appointments are available.
Second, it is turning over management of the Pipkin building site to the City of Memphis, which has maintained a more efficient experience at the Appling location by requiring proof of an appointment and limiting how early people can arrive. As recently as last week, seniors arriving for appointments at the Pipkin site were waiting five hours or more and still being turned away.
A number of other frustrations also remain, including the absence of a unified scheduling system, too few second dose appointments available, and an unreliable supply of vaccine that cannot meet demand.
In addition, a severe winter storm may have contributed to the waste of 1,300 doses.
Commissioners will vote Monday on a resolution asking the state to intervene and call in the National Guard, as other states have done.
Back to business. Restaurants welcomed the Health Department’s latest directive, number 18, which relaxes restrictions and goes into effect at midnight. They did not as much appreciate the Health Department’s orders on Friday, initially closing all restaurants under the water boil order in Memphis, before being reversed later in the day.
Below we check in on the numbers. All local data used comes from the Shelby County Health Department.