The start of the vaccine rollout in the U.S. hasn't gone according to plan. While things seem to be turning around after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced all doses would be released and said states should expand who they are vaccinating, some areas are still struggling. This week has seen tumult in Mississippi with its State Health Department (MSDH) announcing on Wednesday, Jan. 13 that it has run out of its current supply of the vaccine. "The Mississippi State Department of Health had a vaccine distribution plan in place that has been significantly altered in the last few days—especially in the last 24 hours," the MSDH said in a statement on its website. Now, it'll be weeks before Mississippi can vaccinate more eligible individuals against COVID-19. Read on to find out what went wrong, and for a bleak warning from the company making the coronavirus vaccine, check out The Moderna CEO Just Made This Scary Prediction About COVID.
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Mississippi had expanded who could get vaccinated on Jan. 12.
In the wake of the HHS announcement, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said on Tuesday, Jan. 12 that Mississippians over the age of 65 and those over 18 with underlying medical conditions would be permitted to receive vaccinations. Reeves urged residents to sign up to get vaccinated, but the demand was higher than expected. And for more on the latest vaccine news, check out These Are the Side Effects of the New Johnson&Johnson Vaccine.
But it didn't take long for every appointment to get filled.
The public response led to both the MSDH's online platform and the state's vaccination hotline being quickly overwhelmed. "Neither the county health department drive-through sites, nor the [University of Mississippi Medical Center] vaccine scheduling website was designed to accommodate the monumental surge we are currently experiencing," the MSDH wrote in its Jan. 13 statement. "At this time, we have no additional vaccine, and every appointment is tied to an actual vaccination."
State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, told the Biloxi Sun Herald that 52,000 residents were due to receive vaccinations over the next two weeks. And for more on prepping for the vaccine, know that If You Take These OTC Meds, You Have to Stop Before Getting the Vaccine.
The state doesn't expect new vaccine shipments until mid-February.
All vaccine doses currently in the state's possession are earmarked for specific appointments, with no spare capacity currently available for residents who are eligible but have not yet booked an appointment for their vaccination.
"The Mississippi State Department of Health hopes to receive a large shipment of vaccine in mid-February that should help put additional shots in people's arms," the MSDH's statement continued. "We understand the frustration brought on by this sudden change of plans." And for more regular COVID updates, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Mississippi is currently having a severe COVID outbreak.
On Jan. 9, Mississippi experienced its highest-ever daily number of new COVID-19 cases, with 3,203 new cases reported. As of Jan. 14, according to Covid Act Now, the state is seeing a "very dangerous number of new cases" at 75.2 per 100,000 residents, its positive test rate of 15.1 percent "indicates insufficient testing," and with 85 percent of its ICU capacity used, Mississippi is at "high risk of hospital overload." And for more on the current case numbers in your area, check out This Is How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.