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Mississippians 65+ and those with pre-existing conditions now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Governor says about 2 percent of Mississippi’s population has now been vaccinated. But he wants that number to increase as quickly as possible.

His commitment to ramping up the vaccine distribution may now have an added motivation factor.

“Going forward, probably as soon as a week or two from now, it is likely that the federal government is going to start reallocating and redistributing depending on one’s ability to get shots in arms,” explained Reeves. “And, by the way, I don’t blame them.”

The announcement during Tuesday’s briefing that those 65 and older and those with pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus are now eligible to get the vaccine didn’t go unnoticed.

“I am being alerted that there is an overabundance of calls to the call center and web traffic of people trying to get appointments,” said Reeves toward the end of the briefing. “I know it’s frustrating but that’s actually a good thing. That’s saying that there are literally tens of thousands of people across Mississippi that are excited about getting a vaccine.”

Reeves says he’s keeping a close watch on how much of the allocation is getting into arms at the state run drive thrus. But is looking to the other partners to also step up efforts.

“I don’t have visibility on data on a daily basis at every single hospital as to how many doses they’ve gotten and to how many they’ve put in arms,” said Reeves. “But before anymore allocation goes out, I’m going to have that data because we cannot keep sending doses to places that aren’t putting them in arms.”

By December 12, Mississippi had reported 373 deaths for the month. As of January 12, there have been 497 reported for the month. That’s a little more than a 33 percent increase in reported deaths compared to this same time last month.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs saying it’s yet another reason that the latest expansion makes sense.

“As we go through it, the rationale for older folks and vulnerable people makes all the sense in the world,” noted Dobbs. “We’re going to see more deaths and it’s sad. We need to get folks protected who are most likely to die as quickly as possible.”

The Governor has asked that you have patience if you’re trying to get through to the call center or make an appointment online. The traffic to both surged after the announcement was made.

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