Shelby County is looking good on the COVID-19 front, with lower daily cases and higher vaccination numbers, a health official told The New Tri-State Defender Wednesday.
“We set a goal of vaccinating 650,000 residents in Shelby County,” said Dr. Bruce Randolph, medical officer at Shelby County Health Department. “Nearly 249,000 have had at least one shot. Now, more persons have been fully vaccinated with both shots than with only one. Yes, I would say Shelby County is doing very well.”
Randolph was part of a team that went before a Shelby County Commission committee Wednesday morning to update commissioners on how the county is doing. Randolph said new cases on Monday totaled 53, Tuesday’s number was 55 and Wednesday’s number was 59. One death on Tuesday brought the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 1,575.
“We’re hoping this trend in lower new case numbers will continue,” said Randolph. “We appreciate everyone doing their part to fight new infections and take the vaccine.”
It’s important for everyone to continue to wear masks in public, practice social distancing and frequently wash hands, according to Randolph.
“Getting the vaccine guards against serious illness in the event of a COVID-19 infection,” said Randolph. “You want to wear a mask because you don’t know everyone’s status around you. They may not be vaccinated yet, and you could actually contract the virus and not get sick. Anyone not vaccinated doesn’t have that same protection.”
All adults are eligible for the vaccine, as well as teenagers 16 and older. Persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to be vaccinated.
The parent or guardian will be required to show ID and complete a consent form on-site for their child to be vaccinated.
If there is one group of individuals officials particularly are concerned about, it is young adults between the ages of 18-34.
“We need young people to step up to the plate and be vaccinated,” said Randolph. “The benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh the risks of experiencing any side effects. I’ve been telling everyone how wonderful it was to embrace my mother after a year. I was able to do that because I have been vaccinated, and she has been vaccinated. The risk of any side effects with the vaccine was worth it for me.”
Randolph said the chance of having any severe or lasting side effects from a vaccine are slim. There may be some soreness where the shot was given and a mild headache. Slight body aches that only last for 24-48 hours are possible, said Randolph.
The City of Memphis is now operating public COVID-19 vaccination sites Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In Shelby County, more than 100 locations have been authorized to administer vaccines. Appointments must be made for the vaccine. Individuals should not arrive more than an hour before the scheduled appointment time. Those who do not have Internet access may call: (901) 222-SHOT (7468).
The Memphis Fire Department Healthcare Navigator Program is administering homebound vaccinations for qualified individuals in Shelby County. This includes qualifying caregivers for homebound individuals as well.
Also, the new federally-run vaccination site at the Pipkin Building is now open, which officials said will increase the efficiency and number of people receiving vaccines.