Mayor Strickland vows to avoid repeat of health department’s mistakes

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the city was working to ensure it didn’t repeat the Shelby County Health Department’s mistakes two days after the city took over management of the county’s COVID vaccines.  

The remarks came during a visit from Governor Bill Lee in which he met with Strickland and inspected the Pipkin vaccination site.  

“We came to this site just to make sure that we could get eyes on the ground of what’s happening in Shelby County,” said Lee.  

State health officials said Friday that its investigators had characterized the county’s health department as a “low-accountability organization.” Strickland said things will be different with the city in charge of vaccinations. 

“I am not saying that we will never make a mistake, but what I’m saying is overall I feel very confident,” said Strickland. 

The county was criticized for amassing a vaccine stockpile 30,000 doses in excess of what state officials say they should have had. 

“There is a limited supply. If it is held in stockpile or in excess inventory, it is by default not getting into the arm of an elderly individual,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Linda Piercey. 

Strickland said the city is working closely with officials from the state health department to learn the proper procedures for storing and handling COVID vaccines.  

“We will follow the procedures as best we can,” said Strickland. 

The city has launched an online sign up for vaccinations and has 30,000 appointments available next week.  

Appointments can also still be made over the phone using the county’s hotline: 901-222-SHOT.  

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