JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As of Monday, more than 23,000 Mississippians have gotten the COVID-19 shot in their arm. And the timeline on when others will be eligible is shifting some.
”Admittedly, it’s going slower than I had hoped,” said Governor Tate Reeves.
Reeves says he and the officials at the Department of Health are working to speed up the rollout.
“We are going to start allowing vulnerable Mississippians to have access sooner than might have otherwise occurred. Starting next week, those over the age of 75 will have access to the vaccine. Starting the week after that, those over the age of 65 will have access to the vaccine.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Health’s drive-thru clinics around the state are starting to open this week.
“We have about 10,072 appointments currently in the system,” said MSDH Senior Deputy and Director of Health Protection Jim Craig. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs notes that adding the older and more vulnerable citizens will also relieve some pressure on the healthcare system.
“Twelve percent of folks who get diagnosed with COVID over the age of 65 die, which is astounding,” said Dobbs. “About one-in-eight, which is crazy. And a large number of those are obviously going to be in the hospital so that’s a big part of the hospitalized population without a doubt. So that does take the pressure off.”
Reeves also revealed the state is in the lengthy process of applying for federal resources— that might involve bringing in staffing reinforcements as our hospitals continue to struggle to meet the demands.
“The potential of getting federal assets, primarily in terms of personnel,” said Reeves. “There may have to be some equipment and machinery. I’m not sure the specifics, but it’s mostly personnel. If we had the personnel, I think we could probably figure out everything else.”
The state will also start sending out doses this week to the 174 private clinics that have signed up to be vaccine distributors. So, some of those who fall within that 75 plus or 65 plus category could receive the shot at their doctor’s office if it is one of those 174 clinics.
Otherwise, they would receive through the Department of Health. Details on the vaccine distribution plan and questions can be found HERE.