State officials released a coronavirus vaccination timeline earlier this week that includes plans that will allow several different groups of vulnerable and essential people the option to receive shots.

The state health department calls it a phased approach to prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations. Each phase balances the protection of those most at risk from COVID-19 with the protection of those who maintain essential functions of the community.

Phase 1a is currently in progress and is providing both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

As more vaccine arrives over the coming weeks, vaccinations will be expanded to other groups such as older adults, essential workers and those with chronic diseases which raise their risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

The next phase will begin next week as persons aged 75 years and older can receive the vaccine. Also becoming eligible is law enforcement, fire and first responders, as well as K-12 and college teachers and staff, child-care workers, corrections officers and staff and congregate settings workers.

Two phases will begin in February with the first targeting food and agriculture workers, postal service employees, manufacturing and grocery store workers.

The second February phase will add persons aged 65 years and older and persons aged 16 to 64 years with high risk medical conditions.

The state’s current final vaccination phase has an estimated start date of March and will begin allowing persons aged 16 years and older in congregate settings and correctional facilities and other essential workers to receive shots.

Those receiving the vaccination should expect some soreness or fatigue for up to a day after which is a sign the body is developing a proper immune response.

Large-scale testing of the vaccine has found no major side effects.

Two vaccinations are required at 21 to 28 days apart (depending on type of vaccine).

Most healthcare workers and nursing home employees and residents will be given the vaccinations on-site, although there are also drive-through sites open throughout the state.

On Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves said he would not allow any more delays in getting the coronavirus vaccines to people in Mississippi.

“We must focus on saving lives,” he said.

For more information, contact 877-978-6453.

Staff Writer

Zack Steen was first hired in 1999 as a junior in high school to work in the Daily Corinthian design department. After several years away, he returned in 2014 as staff writer. He's married to the love of his life Brandy and they have 5 wonderful fur-kids.

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