New FEMA vaccination center at the Pipkin Building to open Wednesday


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new Community Vaccination Center at the Pipkin Building in Memphis will open on Wednesday.

The Type 2 vaccination center located at 940 East Maxwell Boulevard will be operated by a Marine division from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and have the ability to vaccinate approximately 3,000 people each day. Scheduled to be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, that means more than 21,000 people could be vaccinated at the site each week.

If all goes according to plan, 63,000 people will be fully vaccinated by the end of six weeks. Those doses will be in addition to the ones allocated to Memphis through the state of Tennessee.

The new federally run mass vaccination center opening at the Pipkin Building on Wednesday, FEMA’s regional administrator is in town clearing the air about why the feds felt a need to come to the Bluff City get shots in arms.

“It wasn’t that Memphis was behind at all. It was the data,” Gracia Szczech said. “And using CDC socially vulnerable index, and data is everything, what we saw is there is a large, underserved population here in Memphis.”

Doug McGowan, the Chief Operating Officer, said the partnership with the federal government was very important to help get more people vaccinated.

“When this was first offered to us, we were leading the state with the number of vaccinations that were given by county. But I’d be a fool to look at 21,000 additional vaccines and the opportunity we have in this community and say no thank you,” McGowan said.

CDC director says young people fueling rise in COVID-19 cases

The priority is to get the vaccine to as many people as possible, including those in underserved Memphis communities, as well as to educate residents on the vaccine, building trust in its ability to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19, officials said.

“It is going to take all of us working together—federal, state, and local government—to win in the fight against COVID-19,” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “We’ve administered over 315,000 vaccinations and this joint effort will allow us to dramatically increase the number of those vaccinated.”

To date, more than 1.8 million Tennesseans have been vaccinated, the Tennessee Department of Health said. All Tennesseans over the age of 16 are now eligible to get the vaccine.

To schedule a vaccine in Shelby County, click here. To find a vaccine anywhere in the state, click here.

If you choose to get your vaccine at the Pipkin Building, you will enter from Early Maxwell Boulevard on the day of your appointment. From there you will be directed to enter either the on-site vaccination tent or the Pipkin Building.

After receiving the shot, you will be directed to a waiting area where you will be monitored for 15 minutes to make sure you don’t have a reaction.

If you arrive by foot, by MATA bus or by ride sharing, enter the northside of the site to get your vaccination.

MATA to provide transportation to vaccine site

The Memphis facility is just one of 25 sites the federal government will take over. Members of the military will help administer the vaccines at each location.

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