JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi has run out of vaccine after the Department of Health experienced a huge surge over the past 24 hours. Those who currently have an appointment will get their shots. But additional appointments will begin when more vaccine is available.
It came while patients were waiting for hours feeling stuck on the phone and online. To get more people vaccinated governor reeves expanded the coverage to anyone 65 or older and younger with pre-existing conditions. But the health department wasn’t prepared for the large demand.
To date, the department of health has distributed 264,650 vaccines. But many folks here have spent the last 24 hours trying to sign up for a vaccination time.
“I had been placed in a queue and that I was number 6,161 then I would start trying to call,” Sharon Yarborough of Pike County said. “And I would get a voicemail saying your call did not go through so please try again.”
“I think at 7:00 a.m. this morning I was number 5,055 in the queue,” Joni Archie explained about helping her parents. “I waited there probably more than 45 minutes only to find the location and date they needed to get their second dose was not available.”
As we tried logging onto the website CovidVaccine.UMC.edu we were told 1400 people were ahead of us waiting for information. But compared to others this was a short wait for themselves or their parents.
“The system is even more bombarded with people right now,” Archie added. “With people trying to get their first, they’ve got people trying to get their second and it’s just been a nightmare.”
Just before 5:00 p.m. the department of health announced there is no more vaccine available in Mississippi. A new shipment is expected in mid-February and at this time no more appointments can be scheduled.
If you’ve already received your first dose or scheduled an appointment for it you’ll still be able to get treated. Between now and the end of the month Dr. Thomas Dobbs says 52,000 Mississippians will be vaccinated.
When a new shipment comes in mid-February the Mississippi Department of Emergency Management announced they’ll have expansions for the phone lines and website to cut wait times. Those contacts are 1-877-978-6453 or 601-965-4071.
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. Neither the county health department drive-through sites, nor the UMMC vaccine scheduling website was designed to accommodate the monumental surge we are currently experiencing. At this time, we have no additional vaccine, and every appointment is tied to an actual 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. We understand the frustration brought on by this sudden change of plans. We will certainly keep all Mississippians updated regarding additional vaccine.
Mississippians should understand that we can only vaccinate residents based on vaccine availability. We will open additional vaccination appointments as we receive more vaccine.
Again, the timetable was incredibly altered to make vaccinating everyone eligible impossible.
In the meantime, all Mississippians – whether vaccinated or not – should continue to follow protective guidelines. Especially avoid any social gatherings. And always wear a mask.
UMMC has provided a comment on its Facebook page regarding the Vaccine Scheduler.MSDH
You can find more information about how to schedule an appointment by clicking here.