Vaccine demand exceeds allocation
Local residents are becoming frustrated in trying to schedule their first dose of vaccine against COVID-19.
And until larger quantities of the vaccines are made available, it’s a problem that will continue, not only locally but throughout the state and the U.S.
Meantime, especially for those trying desperately to get scheduled for their first shot, the vaccinations are proceeding at a snail’s pace.
Demand for the shots is far in excess of the amount of vaccine being distributed to the state each week.
Presently there are 21 drive-through sites statewide distributing the vaccine, along with local health care providers such as hospitals and clinics.
An online check of the Mississippi State Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine scheduler at press time Monday indicated that no first dose appointments are available at the drive through sites.
But those scheduling second doses get a break. Last week MSDH announced that it will now schedule second doses through reminder emails or the hotline at 877-978-6453.
Those who have already received the first dose will now receive an email message with instructions on scheduling a second appointment for the vaccine at the drive through sites.
For those seeking their first dose of the vaccine, there are alternatives to the drive-through sites. Appointments can be made at hospitals and health clinics where the vaccine has been made available.
But, like the drive-through sites, appointments coincide with the available supply.
Some medical personnel are advising those attempting to get a first appointment to be persistent and try all available avenues.
At Walthall General Hospital, they’re compiling a list. When the vaccine is available, they move down the list assigning appointments until the supply is exhausted, then pick up where they left off when the next batch is available. You can call the hospital, 876-0405, leave your name and phone number to be automatically added to the list. You’ll be notified when the vaccine is available to you.
Marion General Hospital and Jeff Davis General Hospital have a somewhat different approach. They share a common scheduling line, 601-408-9701. The Marion General Hospital switchboard says the best way to get scheduled is to call daily as when they receive a supply of the vaccine, it’s gone in a short time.
“The state will continue to offer COVID-19 vaccination appointments at MSDH drive through sites based on the number of vaccines allocated to the state of Mississippi each week by the federal government,” the MSDH website says. *The number of vaccines Mississippi receives varies from week to week. This impacts appointment availability.”
The number of doses made available statewide in recent weeks has ranged from 35,000 to 40,000.
The vaccine is distributed based on population.
So far, the state has received 494,975 doses and given 250,905, covering about 8.5% of the population. The excess in doses is based on the idea that the second dose is still to be administered to those who have received the first dose.
Neighboring Alabama has vaccinated a similar number, 8.5%; Georgia and Texas have vaccinated 9.5% and Louisiana, 11%. Vaccination numbers throughout the U.S. range from a low of 79% to a high of 17.8%.