JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Healthcare workers are first up on the list of eligible Mississippians to get the COVID-19 vaccine. And many are looking to lead by example.
The Mississippi State Medical Association’s clarion call of “Mask Up Mississippi” will now be combined with “Vax Up Mississippi.”
“We’re doing this as a demonstration to let people see that we mean what we say and we’ll do what we say,” explained MSMA President Dr. Mark Horne. Ten doctors rolled up their sleeves for that very reason Wednesday afternoon.
“I just woke up excited,” said MSMA Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Jennifer Bryan. “Couldn’t sleep last night. Proud to do this to show people how much we believe in the vaccine and how it is our way forward out of the pandemic.”
“I think that on a smaller level when these patients and their doctors get it, they know they can ask me questions,” described Dr. Laura Miller with the Hattiesburg Clinic, Prentiss Family Practice Clinic in Jeff Davis County. “I’ve been through it. I can talk to him about it. I can give them guidelines and tips. If they have concerns or questions, we can talk through what they might be appropriate for and when.”
The University of Mississippi Medical Center also started vaccinating frontline workers Wednesday.
“Today represents to me the light at the end of the tunnel,” said UMMC assistance vice chancellor for clinic affairs Dr. Alan Jones. “A day that we’ve been waiting on. Usually I stand here before you and talk about how many ICU beds we are down, how we are struggling and we’re tired. Well that’s all true, I feel like there’s a shot of energy- it’s been imported into our staff today.”
UMMC’s first allotment was of 3,900 doses and after figuring up those at most risk of exposure, they believe that will cover those employees’ first round of vaccination. They’ll still need the second.
“This shipment was for the first dose only. So, we have been assured that we will get the second dose in the appropriate timeline,” said UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine Dr. LouAnn Woodward. “We don’t know exactly what day yet. We’re awaiting that notification. But we have asked that question many times because, of course, we’re worried about that.”
Dr. LouAnn Woodward says she chose to take the vaccine as part of the first round of employees because she didn’t want to ask her employees to do something she had not yet done.