Mississippi first responders among those next in line for COVID-19 vaccine

Mississippi first responders among those next in line for COVID-19 vaccine

WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi health officials say the next group of people will be offered the vaccine in just a few weeks.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, people 75 years and older could get the vaccine as soon as next week as a part of the Phase 1b.1 group. Also among them will be essential workers such as police, fire departments and teachers.

“I can’t wait for them to become available for first responders,” said Wiggins Fire Chief Jody Hatten. “I think it’s a good thing that there’s vaccines out there available to the public.”

However, even though the doses will soon be available, not everyone will rush to take them.

“If it’s available for folks and they want it then that’s their decision,” Assistant Chief Dale Taylor said. “We have a constitution that protects our freedom to do things.”

While people next in line for the vaccine said they support the personal choice to either accept or decline it, they also say it’s a sigh of relief to have doses gradually become available to the public.

“I can’t wait. I’m like everyone else. I’m ready for all of this to be over with,” Hatten said.

The health crisis has taken a toll on first responders, forcing them to adapt to social distancing guidelines while on duty and more emergencies to respond to.

“There’s a lot of calls that carry us further and further away from the station,” Taylor said.

Crews hope the pandemic and its hardships will all soon come to an end.

“If the vaccine helps and knocks it all out then I can’t wait for that to happen,” Hatten said.

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