JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Health experts predict deaths from COVID-19 in the United States could reach the half-million mark this month. The good news is that vaccines are becoming more available.
The Mississippi State Department of Health is now allowing one journalist from each Jackson area media outlet to get vaccinated on camera. I, gratefully, accepted the offer and here’s what happened.
I arrived at Smith-Wills Stadium around 8:15 Thursday morning thinking of friends and loved ones who didn’t have the chance to get vaccinated. You probably know someone who didn’t survive COVID-19. That’s why I accepted the offer to receive the shot.
Thanks to the excellent assistance of members of the Mississippi National Guard, the process was smooth and well organized.
Howard Ballou said, ”I’m just thankful to be able to get this vaccine today. I know there’s a big hesitancy especially in our community about getting such a shot, but I say don’t hesitate, vaccinate. I’m looking forward to this.”
First there is paperwork in the comfort of your car.
A national guardsman said, ”If I can get you to put your name and age at the top for me? Just answer question 1 through 9.”
A State Department of Health worker told me, ”After you pass this cone, everything else will happen like its supposed to, like it normally does.”
The next medical official said, ”So, what I’m gonna do is, I’m gonna take that form and I’m gonna take this one and I’ll just go ahead and put it on the outside.”
We make our way to the tent and finally, it’s time for the vaccine.
A National Guardsman said, ”Mr. Ballou, receving the Moderna vaccination. Ok, you can go ahead and book the second appointment. Looking for at least 28 days after today, ok?”
The final step is a 15 minute waiting period to make sure there are no complications or adverse reactions. And just like that, I’m done with the first phase of immunization. While I’ve experienced no side-effects, some people do. Symptoms, the experts say, should go away in about 24 hours.
As one person commented to me on social media, I’d rather put up with some short term discomfort than deal with a ventilator or worse.
You can schedule your vaccine by going online to covidvaccine.umc.edu or call 877-978-6453.