COVID-19 vaccine may be available by Christmas in Shelby County, but many are skeptical about taking it


MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A vaccine is expected in Shelby County next month, but doctors said the work is just getting started.

They will need the majority of people to take it to be effective. But, not everyone is on board. As mentioned, the first phase of people will have their first dose by Christmas.

It will be some time before it is widely available to the public, and doctors said that time will be needed to convince people to take it.

“We’ve gone from not knowing the virus existed to having a vaccine on the cusp of an approval in less than a year which is just unheard of, extraordinary,” Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, an Infectious Disease Specialist, said.

Threlkeld said we will need around 70-percent of people to take a vaccine for it to be effective.
The first round will go to healthcare workers and first responders before it is available to everyone else.

“We have to be completely transparent. We need to let people know hey you may have some side effects from this,” Threlkeld said.

Kalissa Harrison is a resident of Memphis and said she has her doubts about the vaccine.

“I don’t trust it. I really don’t trust any vaccinations,” Harrison said.

Harrison said she is primarily concerned with the safety of a vaccine.

“In any type of disabilities it might cause. All vaccinations and medications have effects to them and a lot of them are long term and come out later in life,” Harrison said.

On the other hand, some people welcome the vaccine. Many said they are ready to get back to “normal life” and would take the vaccine move forward from COVID. Others said they are essential workers and would take it to protect themselves and their families.

Until the vaccine is widely available, health experts said people should continue doing what they can to mitigate the virus.

“We cannot abandon the things we know work until that. At best scenario the vaccine is approved and comes out next month. It takes a month gain immunity from the vaccine even if you take it,” Threlkeld said.

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