Whitehaven vaccination site gives makeup shots over the weekend

By , Daily Memphian Updated: February 22, 2021 10:15 AM CT | Published: February 22, 2021 4:00 AM CT

Overwhelming response was seen at the Whitehaven vaccination site over the weekend even as the Mid-South was still cleaning up after several days and up to 10 inches of snowfall.

The Shelby County Health Department and Southwest Tennessee Community College opened the vaccination site at 1234 Finley Rd. over the weekend for makeup appointments.

Whitehaven vaccination site open Saturday, Sunday for makeups

<strong>The Shelby County Health Department partnered with Southwest Tennessee Community College for its Whitehaven vaccination site.&nbsp;</strong>(Brad Vest/Special to The Daily Memphian)

The Shelby County Health Department partnered with Southwest Tennessee Community College for its Whitehaven vaccination site. (Brad Vest/Special to The Daily Memphian)

The Health Department administered close to 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

And, a sense of community pride brought a nurse out of retirement and two medical students to volunteer at the Whitehaven site. 

“I’m a public health nurse, community health nurse by heart and the community needed me. That’s why I came out of retirement,” Rita Johnson said.

She officially retired in 2017 after 25 years but has been helping the Health Department since December.

The need also brought University of Tennessee Health Science Center medical students Lynley Matthews and Whitney Gulledge. Matthews is in her second year and Gulledge is in her first.

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Matthews, who is studying to be a trauma surgeon, said everyone is saying thank you and how grateful they are that the volunteers are there so the community can get through the pandemic quicker. 

“Everyone being thankful for us being here, and being able to give them the shots is rewarding,” Matthews said. “I wasn’t expecting everyone being so excited to get the shot.” 

For first-year student Gulledge, her experience has been a little more musical.

“People want to take selfies, come up dancing in the car, saying thank you, thank you, thank you,” Gulledge said.

Health department to make more 2nd doses of vaccine available

Johnson said staff at the Whitehaven site is committed, no matter what.

There is a staff of about eight to 12 and they run four lines. 

Memphian Elzie Hentz is thankful too. He waited about 30 minutes and said it was worth it:

“I feel it’s going to do me some good.”

Missed shots slated for same days next week



coronavirus COVID-19 cases Shelby County Health Deparatment

Allyson Brown

After living in Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, California and Ohio, Allyson is happy to be home in Memphis. If you take a look by the Houston High School track, you can still catch her name on the leader board. She likes good food, music and sports. If you have a suggestion about one or the other, send it her way. Also, she’s happy to hear your story ideas.


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