COVID-19 vaccine rollout Merit Health Wesley

Coronavirus

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – While the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) works to get the COVID-19 vaccine distributed to more people, health workers in the Pine Belt are getting their second doses.

Merit Health Wesley in Hattiesburg has given out 484 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to its healthcare professionals. Dr. Daniel Crane, ER Medical Director at Merit Health Wesley, said health professionals started getting their second doses last week. Crane said the vaccine is not a substitute for following safety measures put in place by the CDC.

“We are still seeing a lot of COVID. It’s still a danger to you. If at all possible, get the vaccine, make sure your wearing your mask, and really if you’re not worried about being safe for yourself, be safe for others,” he stated.

Dr. Crane spoke on the differences between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

“The Pfizer vaccine, we give it twice; day one and then 21 days later. And Moderna vaccine, we give it twice as well, but it’s 28 days later.”

Dr. Crane said there are some differences with the required transport temperatures of both vaccines.

“The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit, which is very cold. The Moderna vaccine, you keep at negative four degrees Fahrenheit.”

He said they have seen an uptick in sick COVID-19 patients in the ER. He said getting the vaccine when it’s available is critically important.

“We’ve seen that it’s been essentially safe overall, and compared to the patients we see every day in the hospital, they are very sick with COVID. It’s far superior to get the vaccine,” said Crane.

He said the future is bright because more vaccine options such as AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson may come out if approved following the stage three trials.

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