Mississippi opened up COVID vaccinations to individuals 75 years old and older on Wednesday, accelerating the previously announced schedule.

Appointments are required and are filling up quickly at the 18 drive-through vaccination sites offered by the Mississippi State Department of Health. The closest locations to Corinth are the Lee County Health Department, which is giving shots today (Thursday), and the Lafayette County Health Department, which is giving shots on Friday.

These locations are also continuing to give vaccinations for health care workers and EMT/paramedics. To make an appointment, visit covidvaccine.umc.edu or call (877) 978-6453.

State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said on Wednesday the appointments were opened up to the 75 and older group because some sites still had available appointments and because that age group has the greatest risk for severe illness, hospitalization and death related to COVID. The state is looking at opening vaccinations up to people 65 and older in a couple of weeks, according to Dobbs.

On average, it takes about 23 minutes to complete the drive-through vaccination, including the monitoring time needed after the shot is given.

Mississippi has about 200,000 people who are 75 and older and about 400,000 who are 65 and older.

“Please be patient,” said Dobbs. “There are way more people in Mississippi who are in these age groups than we have access to vaccine. As quickly as we can, we want to get this highly effective, safe vaccine in the arms of seniors so they can be protected.”

The 18 locations where shots are currently being given are “areas that we knew had a high burden of COVID and we knew had a good population base and also geographically distributed,” said Dobbs.

Other locations will be added, and the state is also going to begin sending doses to private clinics and community health centers “so people can get vaccines through their normal pathway,” he said. “Pharmacies will be in the mix pretty soon as well. It’s not going to be just the health department.”

Of the 38 deaths reported by the state on Wednesday, three were in the local area, with one each in Alcorn, Tishomingo and Tippah counties. The deaths occurred between Dec. 19 and Jan. 5. The state had a record number of reported deaths on Tuesday with 91, including six among Alcorn and the neighboring counties.

Mississippi reported 2,791 new positive COVID cases on Wednesday.

Magnolia Regional Health Center had 28 patients hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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