Vaccine brings hope to health leaders in Madison County
JACKSON, Tenn. — With vaccines steadily rolling out, and numbers continuing to stay low, health officials look forward to the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
About four months after the first vaccines were delivered to Madison County, the numbers are encouraging.
“So far we’ve had over 70,000 doses of the COVID vaccine be given here in Madison County, which is fantastic,” said Mallory Cooke, the Public Information Officer for the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department.
That translates to over 42% of Madison County residents having at least one dose of the vaccine. That’s the second best percentage of any county in the entire state.
Why has Madison County had such success vaccinating residents? Cooke says they’ve made the process easy, and that’s made all the difference.
“We’ve tried to make it really easy to get a vaccine here in Madison County. We’re doing walk-in appointments now, you don’t even need an appointment to come and get a vaccine here,” Cooke said.
The numbers bear it out. Right now, the hospital system has not seen any surge in their COVID-19 numbers.
“We have 29 COVID patients, with 10 of those patients in the ICU, and four of those patients on the ventilator. That seems to be pretty steady over the last month or so,” said Amy Garner, Chief Compliance and Communications Officer for West Tennessee Healthcare.
That’s allowed most of the hospital to resume regular operations. However, Garner noted they won’t relax visitation restrictions due to the surrounding counties.
“In our outlying counties, I’m not sure communities are lining up to get the vaccine like they did here, so I think it’s going to be a little while before we’re able to get away from wearing masks and our stringent visitation policy — for a little bit,” Garner said.
Still, despite some of the good news, Madison County has a way to go before herd immunity can be reached. And health officials need residents to keep getting vaccinated.
“Really glad that we’re seeing single digit increases each day. We’ve come a long way from back during the winter time, when we were announcing over 100 new cases a day,” Cooke said.
“The freedom that you feel, and not being scared to be in a social setting, I just cannot say enough about trying to encourage the public to get the vaccinations if they haven’t already,” Garner said.
Cooke also says the health department is one of the only places with the Pfizer vaccine, which is now allowed for those 16 and older.