Federal vaccination effort ending in Memphis, but Pipkin site to remain open

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After roughly six weeks supporting vaccination efforts in the city of Memphis, Marines and sailors assisting at the Pipkin Building are moving on to another mission.

However, after federal agencies leave and their large tent comes down, the vaccination site at the Fairgrounds will still be open and you can still get your COVID-19 shot.

Wednesday was the last day 170 active-duty Navy sailors and Marines out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina helped give those shots. They worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day. 

They did not vaccinate as many people as they were set up to do.

“We had the capacity to give up to 3,000 vaccinations a day. We did not reach our goal here. We gave probably on average about 1,000 a day,” said 1st Lt. Sydney Murkins, Communication & Strategy Operations Officer with the 2nd Marine Division.

Still, Murkins said the mission was a once in a lifetime experience. She said it’s rare for active-duty members to deploy within the U.S. 

“We’re always serving the country, but not in the capacity where we get to see the people who we’re doing it for,” she said. “It’s rare to be able to see the smiling faces of the American citizens so as our sailors were vaccinating people, people got very emotional and very excited and very emotional and felt like they were doing their part.”

This week, Shelby County Health officials said nearly 340,400 people in the county have received at least one does of the COVID-19 vaccine.  As the data in the state system updates, they expect that number to increase. 

They’re encouraging those who aren’t vaccinated to still visit the Pipkin Building.

“There’s no appointment necessary so just come on out,” said Gina Sweat, Memphis Fire Department Director.

Or you can visit the dozens of other places providing the shots.

“We will get to the end of the pandemic when the virus doesn’t have anywhere else to go,” said David Sweat with the health department.

To see where to get a shot in Shelby County, visit:

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