Health officials, pharmacies say vaccine appointments declining
JACKSON, Tenn. — Local health officials and pharmacies provided the latest updates on vaccine progress in West Tennessee.
A little over a week ago, the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department opened up vaccinations to anyone 16 and older within the county.
While they had encouraging numbers to start, the number of appointments has dropped in recent days.
“Initially after we made the announcement, we did see a small spike. Our appointments were full for about two days, but since then, we’re not filling up appointments,” said Mallory Cooke, the Public Information Officer for the health department.
To date, there have been over 51,000 vaccines administered in Madison County, which is a good number.
But as the phases continue, leaders want to see more progress. Cooke says West Tennessee as a whole needs to step up.
“Comparing West Tennessee to the other parts of the state, we’re seeing more folks who are more hesitant to get the vaccine in our area. We’re not sure why that is,” Cooke said.
Phipps Pharmacy, which has three locations in West Tennessee, says it has experienced a similar drop.
They think it might be linked to low supply for the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“For the Johnson & Johnson brand, the demand is very high. We get questions constantly, every day about do we have it, when are we going to get it,” said Mark Harville, Director of Community Relations and Compounding Services at Phipps Pharmacy.
Harville says they went through their initial doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and have ordered more, but they don’t have firm details on when the next shipment will come.
“Our impression from our patients is that we would be consistently high on the number of doses we were giving as well, if we had the Johnson & Johnson brand,” Harville said.
As a reminder, all the vaccines are effective and the Centers for Disease Control does not recommend “holding out” for a certain vaccine.
The goal is to get everyone vaccinated before any variants of the virus take hold in America.
“That recommendation is to get a vaccine as soon as possible, and get whatever brand is available,” Harville said.