MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The vaccination rate in the Mid-South has been going up slightly, but not enough to flatten the curve.
In fact, people are getting infected and being hospitalized at the fastest rate since the pandemic began.
With less than half of the eligible population vaccinated, doctors are pleading with the public to trust them when they say the vaccine is not only safe, but our only way out of this mess.
Doctors say one of the excuses they hear from patients who are not vaccinated is that the vaccine is only approved for emergency use.
If that’s your excuse, you’ll be happy to know the FDA is expected to grant full approval to the Pfizer vaccine by the end of this month.
Another excuse doctors are hearing is that the patient already had COVID-19 and believed they were immune.
Dr. Stephen Threlkeld of Baptist Hospital explained why that assumption is wrong.
“There are pretty good data that even in people who have past infection, and that immunity may last quite some time for people who have been infected. The problem is it lasting against something that no longer exists,” Threlkeld said. “You don’t have the Wuhan variant or even the alpha variant anymore so your immunity to that is going away, not because the antibodies are waning, not because the immunity doesn’t last a long time, but like the flu, next year’s flu is not going to be as worried about your last year’s antibodies to last year flu. And it turns out the vaccines seem to do better at that so far. … All the data would indicate that you’re better off with the vaccine than you are with yesterday’s or last year’s natural immunity.”Dr. Stephen Threlkeld
The vaccine is available for free at more than 100 locations in the Memphis area. That includes Kroger, Walmart, and Walgreens.
The city also offers free vaccinations at the Pipkin Building and at special events. Anyone age 12 and up is eligible to get vaccinated.
Doctors acknowledge there is a segment of the population that will never get vaccinated. They’re hoping to reach those who are on the fence, so at the least, the spread of the virus can be slowed.