Vaccines distributed in three phases

The state is using a phased approach to distribute the new coronavirus vaccines to the public.
Phase 1A, the first round of vaccinations, is being implemented. It is to cover frontline healthcare workers, first responders and select additional groups.
While estimates of 200,000 total doses are required to fully implement Phase 1A, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said less than 30,000 were expected in the initial shipment to the state.
The number of doses is influenced by a number of factors such as total population and infection rate. Healthcare workers with the highest risk of exposure will be identified and vaccinated first, though it is not mandatory they take the vaccine.
Phase 1b will cover all long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, in the state. About 56,500 doses are estimated to be required to cover all residents in the category.
By the time Phase 2 kicks in, the supply of vaccine is expected to have increased to the level that it will meet the demand. Phase 2 includes essential workers—teachers, postal workers, grocery store employees and others. Those above 18 who are affected by obesity, heart disease and diabetes will also be able to receive the vaccine in Phase 2. An estimated 2.4 million doses, covering most of the state’s eligible population, should be distributed in Phase 2.
The remainder of the general population, requiring about 227,000 doses, will receive vaccinations in Phase 3 of the distribution process.
Each phase is distributed based on Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
A New York Times database indicates Mississippi is among the top 20 states where high levels of new cases are being recorded. In addition, space is limited in the state’s major hospitals, and small rural hospitals have limited resources.
Even once the quantity of vaccinations increase, Dr. Dobbs says people still need to wear face covering and refrain from social gatherings. He says at least half of the disease transmissions come from people who are asymptomatic.
“That is why it’s important…to avoid all social gatherings and assume that anyone with whom we come in contact is a contagious coronavirus case,” Dobbs said.

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