‘Felt like a butterfly’: Miss. health leaders receive first doses of vaccine

Health officials get first COVID-19 vaccines in Mississippi - clipped version

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs received the first Coronavirus vaccine in Mississippi during an afternoon live stream.

“Felt like a butterfly,” Dobbs said with a smile to Immunization Nurse Lois Moore. “A little bit of a sting.”

Moore administered the vaccine to four additional state leaders inside a Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) conference room Monday, kickstarting the state’s vaccine distribution campaign against COVID-19.

“This is a day we’ve been waiting for,” Dobbs said. “I can’t tell you how excited we are to kick this off.”

After his vaccination, Dobbs said two Miss. medical centers, including University of Mississippi Medical Center received their distributions Monday and more doses will arrive at other facilities throughout the week.

UMMC announced they received the initial allotment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination and transferred it to an on-campus ultra-cold freezer for storage. This allotment consisted of 780 vials, each able to yield five doses of the vaccine for a total of 3,900 doses of the vaccine.

The medical center says the initial allotment of the vaccine is for distribution to UMMC employees only. Employees will be granted the option to receive the vaccine through a tiered system with those designated as highest risk – for example, those coming in daily contact with known or suspected COVID-19 patients – given highest priority.

UMMC set up an employee COVID-19 vaccine clinic that consists of 10 private cubicles where the vaccine will be administered. Each hour, up to six vaccinations can be given in each cubicle for a maximum of 60 inoculations per hour.

Health officials say the vaccine distribution plan includes targeting Mississippi’s frontline health care works and long-term care facilities.

While MSDH officials are excited the vaccine is here, Dobbs said make no mistake that difficult days still lie ahead.

“It’s ugly right now and it’s about to get uglier. We are not gonna have a big impact on the population over the next couple of weeks. What we will be able to impact is healthcare workers and staff,” Dobbs quipped. “We see a real avalanche of people our hospital system soon and I just want everyone to understand we’re gonna have a rough winter.”

State leaders advise you not to let your guard down this holiday season and continue to assume anyone around you could have COVID-19.

“Keep it small, keep it nuclear, keep it local,” Dobbs said.

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