JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi is still looking for ways to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. But they have to work with the supply the federal government is sending, and it’s not enough to cover everyone eligible.
Mississippi’s vaccine distribution situation is the definition of demand exceeding supply.
“About 1.3 to 1.4 million people,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “That’s a lot of people that now qualify. But if you look at how much vaccine that were allocated… right now we get a steady stream of about 37,000 first doses coming into the state every week.”
And those weekly allotments are being prioritized for the state-run drive-through sites.
“About 30,000 of those routinely are going to go to our drive-through sites because that’s where we’re doing the vast amount of our throughput,” explained Dobbs. “The remainder will be shared with partners, especially partners in areas where we don’t have drive-through sites.”
We first told you about the Lawrence County Hospital last week and their pleas to get vaccines for their residents. Since then, they’ve received positive news.
“We got an email Monday that we were going to be receiving 200 doses of vaccine in our hospital,” said Lawrence County CEO Phillip Langston. “Our parking lot was full because these people came here for help. They were happy and they got it. And it means a lot.”
Now the hospital says it’s working with the Department of Health on getting a drive-through location set up in the county.
“We agreed at that point that we would actually staff it. The guard’s going to come in, some Mississippi State Department of Health people will be here to monitor the site. But between the emergency management team, first responders, and our team here, we plan on taking the site and running with it. And hopefully it set up within 7 to 10 days and ready to operate.”
We asked if that’s a model the state is planning to use more, partnering with hospitals on drive-through sites.
“The state of Mississippi, county governments, hospitals, the health department and others have been doing pandemic planning for a decade,” added Langston. “So, there are some pretty good plans that are already in place. Lawrence County had some of those planned activities. We’re definitely working with them to see if we can increase some of the geography of where Mississippians can get those shots.”
The other topic of discussion was the second dose. The department knows people have been concerned about getting those scheduled and they’re working to add more appointments for the drive-through sites.