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Coronavirus vaccine availability is expanding to all healthcare workers
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When, and where vaccine sites will be available this week
MSDH

Coronavirus cases have surged following the holiday season, and hospitals are operating beyond capacity. Health officials are expanding coronavirus vaccinations to healthcare workers across the state.

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At least 17 thousand front-line healthcare workers and long-term care residents have received a coronavirus vaccine in Mississippi, and this week there will be additional vaccine availability for all healthcare employees. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists and hospital administrators. Jim Craig, Director of Health Protection at the state Department of Health, says healthcare workers can get these vaccinations at any of the 18 drive-thru sites across the state. He says "These sites will require an appointment, just like we do for the testing components, so individuals need to go online and the website is covidvaccine.umc.edu, and there they will be able to register for an appointment at one of these 18 sites."

By Wednesday last week, Mississippi had distributed 120 thousand doses of COVID-19 vaccines, roughly 90% of what the state has received so far. But State Epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers, says vaccines will not solve the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases. "The vaccine is exciting and we're glad to have it, and this is a step in the right direction for us as we move forward, but guys we are not out of the woods," says Dr. Byers. "We are in still the worst time that we have seen so far in this pandemic. And we are not seeing any signs really that things are slowing down."

To ease the strain on hospitals, health officials encourage everyone to slow the spread of the coronavirus by wearing a mask and social distancing until a vaccine is widely available.