JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Don’t worry about signing up for your COVID-19 vaccination at least until the middle of next month.
Mississippi’s supply of vaccine through then has been committed, according to state health officials.
On Wednesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced it is no longer accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations.
“The recent upsurge in COVID-19 vaccination appointments has now committed Mississippi’s entire supply of vaccine. Appointment scheduling will resume after vaccine re-supply expected in mid-February,” the tweet reads.
However, state officials had apparently not expected such an increase in demand for the doses.
MSDH, “had a vaccine distribution plan in place that has been significantly altered in the last few days - especially in the last 24 hours. Neither the county health department drive-through sites, nor the UMMC vaccine scheduling website was designed to accommodate the monumental surge we are currently experiencing,” according to a health department news release. “At this point, we have no additional vaccine, and every appointment is tied to an actual vaccination.”
The department has struggled to keep up with demand since opening vaccines to those 75 and older earlier in January. Last week, people calling the COVID-19 hotline said they were experiencing long wait times when trying to sign up for vaccination.
MSDH’s website also had gone down to a technical glitch. However, health officials would not say whether that glitch was related to an increase in traffic.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said at a Mississippi State Health Association meeting on Friday, January 8, that part of the problem stemmed from the fact that the state expanded vaccine offerings to seniors a week earlier than expected.
He said an additional 100 operators were added at the call center that week to help with capacity issues.
Through January 13, 73,391 doses of the vaccine had been administered, according to state figures. That number includes 66,024 who had received the first dose and 7,367 who had received the first and second doses.
Department officials say they hope to receive a “large shipment” of the vaccine by the middle of next month.
“We understand the frustration brought on by this sudden change of plans,” MSDH writes. “We will certainly keep Mississippians updated regarding additional vaccine.”