MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The federally run vaccination center, with nearly 170 military personnel, opened up for business at the Pipkin building Wednesday with the goal of increasing the number of vaccinations in the Memphis community.
The site was made possible through partnerships with federal, state and local agencies. Open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, the site expands the drive-thru lanes at the Pipkin building from two lanes to four — all with the capacity to accommodate up to 20 vehicles at a time.
Local and federal leaders said the goal is to administer 21,000 shots a week at the site alone.
“This site is planned for the next six weeks. There’s an opportunity to extend by two weeks depending on demand,” said Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen.
The site was initially set to only administer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the first three weeks. That quickly changed to first and second doses once they realized slots weren’t filling up.
McGowen said they’re still working out ways to engage with the community to increase the number of people getting vaccinated.
“This is about being flexible and meeting people where they are,” he said.
To keep operations running smoothly, military personnel from the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejuene in North Carolina are helping to administer vaccines.
Colonel Jason Glass with the Tennessee National Guard said if you look closely, you may even recognize a few of the service members giving you your shot.
“We got a lot of folks on this team, both active duty and national guardsmen, who are from this local area. So, this is a huge opportunity. They’re very glad to be serving their neighborhoods, their old neighborhoods, their old city,” he said.
With a severe weather threat here in the Memphis area, city officials said they do have a plan in place. They will suspend operations if there is a tornado threat or severe lightning in order to ensure the safety of all staff and drivers.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, call (901) 222-SHOT.