Mississippi now says COVID-19 vaccination appointments to resume soon after more doses en route

Published 5:26 pm Friday, January 15, 2021

New appointments to get coronavirus vaccinations in Mississippi will likely be available again the week of Jan. 25, in more locations than before, state Department of Health officials said Friday.

Officials announced Wednesday that all available appointments were filled up at the state’s 18 drive-thru clinics after a “monumental surge” in demand. The surge came after Gov. Tate Reeves announced Tuesday that the state was making vaccinations available to anyone 65 and older or people of any age with underlying health conditions.

“The anticipated arrival of significantly more vaccine in February is in addition to the steady, modest supply that we are currently receiving weekly,” the state clarified in a press release.

Around 16% of the state’s residents are 65 or older, according to U.S. Census data.

The Department of Health listed more than 12 chronic health conditions on its website that would qualify someone to receive a vaccination. The list includes diabetes and obesity. Around 37% of Mississippi’s population qualifies as obese and more than 13% of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes.

Mississippi received a new shipment of coronavirus vaccine this week that will be used for residents who have signed up for appointments to be vaccinated at drive-thru clinics next week, the Department of Health said Friday.

Officials anticipate the state will receive more doses of vaccine from the federal government at the end of next week that will be used for inoculations the week of Jan. 25. They said a significant shipment is expected in February that will allow the state to expand vaccinations further.

In addition to those 65 or over and with health conditions, health care workers, people living in long-term care facilities and anyone 75 and older are now eligible to receive shots. Reeves has said he hopes to expand to teachers and first responders next.

As of Friday, 87,461 people in Mississippi, a state with a total population of roughly 3 million, had received the first dose of coronavirus vaccine. Just under 10,000 people had received their first and second doses, according to the Department of Health.

The state Health Department reported Friday that Mississippi had 2,342 new confirmed cases of the virus as of Thursday evening. The department also reported 55 deaths Friday. The state has reported nearly 248,189 cases of the virus and 5,411 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.