Memphis ramping up vaccination efforts

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The push to get more vaccines into arms is underway.

Temporary vaccine sites have popped up all over Shelby County to make getting the vaccine more accessible before it may be too late.

Sunday morning between 6:30 and 8:30, Calvary Episcopal Church on the corner of Adaminsa and North Second will host a pop-up vaccination site. This site is just one of the city’s many efforts to get more people vaccinated while they still have the excess supply.

However, a representative with the church tells me for some people getting vaccinated.
It is already inconvenient and that’s where they hope they can step in to help.

“So many neighbors who live on the streets who don’t hear about the opportunities. We were anxious to offer vaccinations to people who may not have heard about it before,” Christine Todd, Director of Outreach Ministries, said.

Both Pfizer and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be available Sunday morning. Volunteers will also serve breakfast and provide clothing.

On May 17, FEMA will end its time as a mass vaccination site at the Pipkin Building, taking their 21,000 weekly dose allotment with them.

They’re not the only ones leaving. City officials say several other mass vaccination sites will be coming to an end in May, as well making it a lot less convenient to get vaccinated.

However, the Memphis Fire Department’s healthcare navigator manager Kevin Spratlin says for many people in the county, getting the shot is already inconvenient.

“Our teams motto is to provide the right care, at the right place, at the right time. This means meeting people where they’re at and delivering the vaccine straight to them,” Spratlin said.

Spratlin says on average they deliver up to 50 vaccines a day to those who are homebound, and he says they rely heavily on community organizations and groups such as calvary to reach other vulnerable groups.

“We have adequate supply to reach those we consider homebound and need to be vaccinated as well as those who are experiencing homelessness and other special and vulnerable populations that need to be served,” Spratlin said.

So far, around 300,000 people have been vaccinated which, according to health officials, falls short of their goal to have 700,000 vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity.

Spratlin says they have multiple pop-up vaccination sites scheduled up to June, and the list is growing on a daily basis.

“We’ve set up a system to be able to do this pretty well, but we can’t do this without others in the community helping us identify the folks who need to be vaccinated,” Spratlin said.

As mentioned, the pop up vaccination site is scheduled Sunday from 6:30 – 8:30 a.m. The church says they’re expecting about 150 people.

Along with a vaccine, they’ll also be serving food, providing clothing, and offering additional financial resources.

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