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COVID-19

Vaccine demand outstripping Mississippi’s ability to deliver

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(photo by U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0)

Mississippi is struggling to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all of the state’s residents who want the shots.

After Gov. Tate Reeves announced Tuesday that eligibility for vaccinations had expanded to those 65 and older and people with certain preexisting conditions, call volume crashed the toll-free number set up to make appointments.

As of Wednesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health has set up 18 drive-thru vaccination sites across the state, meaning that residents in 64 of the state’s 82 counties must go outside their county to get inoculated. The 18 public sites are staffed in cooperation with the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi National Guard.

The MSDH-run sites listed on its website are as follows:

  • De Soto County Health Department
  • Forrest County: Lake Terrace Convention Center, #1 Convention Center Plaza, Hattiesburg
  • Jackson County Health Department
  • Lafayette County: National Guard Armory/Oxford Convention Center, 102 Ed Perry Blvd., Oxford
  • Lafayette County (Armory)
  • Lauderdale County Health Department
  • Madison County Health Department
  • Oktibbeha County: Mississippi Horse Park, 869 E Poor House Road, Starkville
  • Panola County: Batesville Civic Center, 290 Civic Center Drive, Batesville
  • Pike County Health Department
  • Rankin County: Trustmark Park, #1 Braves Blvd, Pearl
  • Washington County Health Department

In addition to those public sites, about 55 hospitals and private clinics have enrolled with MSDH to deliver vaccinations and have the necessary doses to give shots. Access that list here.

Any private provider can sign up with MSDH to provide vaccinations. Once approved, they go into a queue for delivery of vaccines so they can begin taking appointments.

Unfortunately, at this time, Warren County has neither a public, drive-thru site nor any enrolled private providers who have doses of the vaccine and are ready to go.

The City of Vicksburg and the Warren County Board of Supervisors are working on getting the vaccine into Warren County.

“I have been in communication with (Warren County Board of Supervisors President) Dr. (Jeff) Holland and (Warren County Emergency Management Agency Director) Mr. (John) Elfer,” said Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in a statement to the Vicksburg Daily News. “Mr. Elfer has tremendous relationships with MEMA and other state agencies. Only around 1% of the available vaccine has reached the State of Mississippi. This should be used for first responders, medical personnel and in our long-term care facilities. I will support Mr. Elfer and Dr. Holland with locations and logistics when we can distribute the vaccine. I will defer to them and don’t want to politicize this issue.”

The Warren County Emergency Management Agency issued a statement Wednesday to address some of the issues in the county.

“We are in regular contact with officials at MSDH and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to expedite designation of vaccination sites in Warren County. Our goal is to have a public vaccination site at Pemberton Mall established as soon as one week from now,” the statement reads.

“We are also working with local health providers to establish a roster of health professionals willing to assist in expansion of state vaccinations to Warren County. Initial local private health care facilities that have been approved to administer vaccinations as supplies of the vaccine are made available are Mission Primary Care and Medical Associates of Vicksburg.”

As of Wednesday, Jan. 13, Mississippi has vaccinated 73,391 people, including 7,367 individuals who have received both required shots for full immunization. A total of 264,650 doses of vaccine have been distributed around the state, including 89,700 doses to the Federal Pharmacy Partnership (CVS and Walgreens) for long-term care facilities. See the full report here.

To make an appointment at one of the public, drive-thru sites, call 877-978-6453 or 601-965-4071 or go online to covidvaccine.umc.edu.

To make an appointment at a hospital or other private provider, refer to this list and call the provider directly.

MEMA Executive Director Greg Michel addresses some of the issues in the video below.

Copyright © 2021 Vicksburg Daily News.

Vicksburg Daily News