Vaccine rollout remains priority at Miss. Health Dept.

Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 3:08 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi State Department of Health officials discussed the availability of COVID-19 vaccines Monday afternoon.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers and Senior Deputy and Director of Health Protection Jim Craig were on hand to update the latest on the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in the state.

Dobbs noted “fantastic news” in a declining number of cases, but urged the public to keep up with wearing masks and avoiding social gatherings.

“We have an opportunity right now to get as many people vaccinated as possible and get a lid on this thing,” Dobbs said.

He says 31 Walmart locations within the state will receive vaccines to give out. Click here to see the list of locations. Dobbs says the locations were chosen to give more opportunities to some underserved areas. The doses these stores receive will not take away from the allocations given to the health department.

A special hotline for those 75 years or older was set up to expedite the vaccine process for those who may be less internet-savvy.

He also brought up the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which he says would likely be rolled out shortly after if it is approved. The vaccine is a single dose, but has shown a lower efficacy rate than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that are in circulation right now.

Dr. Byers reiterated that those out of state should not be getting vaccines unless they work in Mississippi. He says 6,777 out-of-state residents have received the vaccine. Recently, officials say “vaccine tourists” from Louisiana were taking advantage of Mississippi’s more lax requirements to receive the vaccine.

Dr. Craig says Delta State’s football field will open later this month as a vaccination site in Bolivar County. Also, the Madison County vaccination site will move to Canton High School from the Madison County Health Department.

“Vaccine supply is a limiting factor,” Craig said of the amount of drive-through locations in the state. Officials continue to say the state is dishing out vaccines at maximum capacity.

To date, 334,000 vaccines have been administered in the state.

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