Vaccine being made available to more; Reeves hopes to see 100K doses weekly

By the end of last week new first dose appointments were being added to the state’s online COVID-19 vaccination schedule. In addition, those who have received their first dose were able to make appointments for their second dose.
Those eligible for the vaccine include adults 65 and older and those from 18-64 with certain chronic health conditions. That’s in addition to healthcare personnel, EMS paramedics and those 75 and over.
Typically, the state started out receiving 37,000 doses of vaccine each week. When first announced, the demand far exceeded what state officials expected, and the online appointment site and COVID-19 Hotline both bowed to the pressure. By the evening of the first day shots became available to those 65 and over, the system found itself unable to handle the number of hits on the website or calls to the Hotline.
However, by the next morning, officials had a handle on appointment assignments and users were placed in a holding pattern–once connected to the system they were told to remain connected, the system would automatically refresh itself, and after a wait of sometime, eventually the system would ask for the user to input their patient information.
Users who connected that morning reported waiting 45-minutes or longer before they were able to input their information.
The available drive through sites weren’t necessarily the closest. After Pike appointments were filled, some were assigned to other sites, driving to Laurel, Hattiesburg or Natchez for their first vaccines.
However, many local residents were able to take advantage of other providers–using the local clinic, Southwest Regional and others as they also provided vaccines for first responders.
This week, Gov. Tate Reeves says the state is to receive close to 43,000 doses of the vaccine.
Allocations of the vaccine are expected to increase in both Mississippi and the U.S. as makers ramp up production to meet the demand. In addition, vaccines from other makers are meeting approval.
While those who already received their first shot are having to schedule the second dose, Gov. Reeves says in many parts of the state second dose appointments are now being made at the site as soon as you receive the first vaccination.
Application for the vaccines can be made by online registration at covidvaccine.umc.edu or calling the Hotline at 877-978-6453.
For those who have to go online or call to make their second appointments, more future appointment dates have been made available and there is no longer a need to wait a week or two before trying to book the date for the second shot.
Your second dose appointment should be on or after 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine or on or after 28 days for Moderna.
While the online registration is still the preferred method, those who don’t feel comfortable online, or those who don’t have someone to help register them online, can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 877-978-6453, but be prepared to wait.
Although numbers of new cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 are on a decline, residents should continue to wear masks, observe social distancing and avoid crowds, as overall coronavirus numbers are still much higher than even the surge experienced in the state over the summer.

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