MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After days of anticipation, several Shelby County hospitals will receive shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Thursday.
Deliveries are expected at Baptist, Methodist, Le Bonheur and the Memphis VA hospital. All of the hospitals say they will start giving shots to doctors, nurses and other frontline workers as soon as possible.
But there are new questions about just how many health care professionals plan to take it.
In a recent survey, only 45% of staffers at Methodist said they plan to get the vaccine; 26% said maybe and 28% said they would not get the shot.
Methodist has not made the vaccine mandatory, leaving the decision up to each individual employee. But the hospital is urging its workers to get vaccinated, providing them with some educational material to help them make the best choice.
“We are encouraging our employees to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones and patients. It is the only way we will be able to begin to turn a corner with this insidious virus,” Methodist hospitals said in a statement.
Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist, said recently that he had weighed the concerns with the vaccine and concluded that he would be healthier and safer by taking it.
“Why should health care people be among the first?” he said. “Very simply, because we need the structure of health care to stay sound around us … A system that’s already strained, we do not need people unnecessarily out who could be protected.”