Health leaders experience vaccination shortage at South Memphis sites

Kelli Cook

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are hundreds of vaccination appointments available Saturday.

Christ Community Health Services leaders say they’ve been administering 600-900 vaccines at the Raleigh drive-thru site daily, but they’re having a harder time getting people to sign up for their pop-up site Saturday in South Memphis.

Friday afternoon inside the Christ Community health clinic in Hickory Hill we met a number of people getting their COVID-19 shot including 65-year-old Wanda Reid.

“I had a horrible experience with COVID. I had asthma and heart disease and it was really, really hard to make it through,” said Reid who spent 3 weeks back in October sick from the coronavirus.

She was more than ready to get her second shot of the Moderna vaccine.

“I absolutely believe the vaccine is the cure to COVID. We’ve been waiting on it. We’ve been praying on it and it’s finally here, so I don’t want us to get left behind. This is the way we cured the measles. This is the way we cured the measles and polio,” said Dr. Reginique Green with Christ Community Health Services.

Green is looking for more people to show up to Christ Community’s free drive-up vaccination site in the 3300 block of South Third street Saturday.

The mass vaccination is on March 13th from 8 am to 3 pm and you must have an appointment.

Green says they are prepared to vaccinate at least 500, but they’ve had only

about 100 people to text the word “Vaccine” to 91999 for an appointment.

Vaccination eligibility now includes people over the age of 65 and people with any pre-existing health conditions including being overweight, diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure.

Green said, “That is priority group 1C which unfortunately includes a lot of us especially in the South Memphis area.”

Demand has been high for the vaccine, but it’s been a tougher sell to Blacks and minorities which is a target group for Christ Community Health and the City of Memphis.

“Approximately two weeks ago about 20% of the total vaccinated population was African American, this week it’s approximately 30%, that’s certainly not victory, that’s just a step in the right direction,” said Chief Operating Officer, Doug McGowen.

Reid is included in that number with high hopes she can return to life as she knew it before COVID changed everything.

“I’m going to hug my granddaughter. She’s 9 months old and I wanna hug her,” said Reid.

Dr. Green says if you’ve had COVID-19 you should wait 90 days, but she says it’s important to get vaccinated to provide protection from the three variants identified in our community.

To make an appointment, text the word “VACCINE” to 9-1-9-9-9.

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