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MSDH now offering smaller Pfizer vaccine allotments to clinics

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi health leaders have been brainstorming ways to get the Pfizer vaccine to smaller clinics. The smallest allotment possible was more than 1,000.

Now, the Mississippi Department of Health is creating another option.

This health alert now means improved access to Pfizer vaccines. Clinics can request as little as one vial which is six doses. They will then be able to pick it up directly at their local health department.

“We feel like this is a way for us to get beyond some additional barriers,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “Take matters into our own hands and really get the vaccine out there.”

MSDH was already planning to offer the smaller allotments but the FDA’s announcement that Pfizer vaccines can be stored at normal refrigeration for a month adds to that flexibility.

“Previous to these changes we only had five days, 120 hours, that the Pfizer vaccine could stay at refrigerated temperatures,” added Byers.

Then there’s the demand issue as Dr. Brad Scott at Creekmore Clinic in New Albany explained.

“Our last shipment was a little bit harder to get through because obviously they had become more available at CVS, Walmart and Walgreens,” said Scott. “And still have those patients who are very reluctant to take it.”

Scott says they’ve only been able to get Moderna so far but plan to request the newly available smaller allotments of Pfizer.

“You almost had to keep a list and when you got close to 100, you can order and get them in,” Scott said of Moderna orders. “And obviously if we are able to get much smaller like this, we obviously every day will have a couple of phone calls about people asking, ‘Do you have the vaccine?’ Being able to get it in a much smaller doses will allow us to keep some on hand.”

Ryan Kelly with the Mississippi Rural Health Association says it meets the needs for many areas.

“Clinics that maybe are only open a couple of days a week or maybe only have a few patients per day, we still want them to be able to have access to this exactly like the flu vaccine,” said Mississippi Rural Health Association Executive Director Ryan Kelly. “They should be able to have this because those patients, even if few in number, are still equally as important as patients into its population.”

“Now we’re at a point in our vaccine efforts where we want to meet people where they are,” noted Dr. Byers.

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