COVID vaccination plan for long-term care was 'faulty'

Dr. Thomas Dobbs | Source: Mississippi State Department of Health

Mississippi’s top health official is criticizing the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine within the state’s long-term care facilities.

Posted: Jan 23, 2021 4:24 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2021 5:30 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi's top health official criticized the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine within the state's long-term care facilities Friday, calling the plan made by the federal government and pharmacies contracted to give the shots “faulty” and ”frustrating."

“We gave them too much vaccine too soon,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said during a virtual briefing with the Mississippi State Medical Association, adding that the situation is now a “daunting problem” for health officials.The Department of Health is now having conversations with CVS and Walgreens about whether some of the doses allocated to them need to be pulled back, Dobbs said.

CVS and Walgreens were allocated 47,000 doses of vaccine in December to inoculate long-term care residents, per the federal government. As of Friday, only about 14,000 doses have been administered. Mississippi has about 36,000 residents living in nursing facilities and 25,000 living in other long-term care settings.

That's compared with 150,786 doses that have been administered statewide, according to the Department of Health. The state is using 19 drive-thru facilities, clinics and hospitals to complete vaccinations for those 65 and older, health care workers and those who are at least 16 and have health conditions that might make them more vulnerable to the virus.

Overall, Dobbs said, the state is doing “remarkably well” at vaccinating people who are not long-term care residents — the state had used 75% of its allocation for first doses as of Friday. Still, officials at the drive-thru sites and other facilities offering vaccinations have not been able to come close to keeping up with the demand.

“If we could have given them 4,000 a week like they're using, then we could have used that other vaccine," Dobbs said of long-term care facilities.

The state health officer said it's been a “real challenge" as his team tries to plan for the future.

"We expected them to be done a couple of weeks ago, like maybe last week, with everybody," Dobbs said.

Officials with CVS and Walgreens have assured the Department of Health that vaccinations will be 95% done by the end of January, Dobbs said. Department of Health officials are meeting with representatives from the pharmacies again on Monday.

Dobbs said the delay has been partially due to slow rollout by CVS and Walgreens and also to “sluggish” uptake of the vaccine, especially among staff at long-term care facilities.

The department reported Friday that Mississippi had 2,050 new confirmed cases of the virus as of Thursday evening. The department also reported 45 deaths Friday, 27 of which happened between Jan. 16 and Thursday. The state has reported about 261,000 cases of the virus and 5,713 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

People eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine can try to make an appointment at COVIDvaccine.umc.edu or by calling the COVID-19 call center at 1-877-978-6453.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 468498

Reported Deaths: 9100
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison31907468
Hinds30552569
DeSoto29532342
Jackson22868335
Rankin21016355
Lee14393214
Madison13961263
Jones13053215
Forrest12879231
Lauderdale11244292
Lowndes10148171
Lamar9972122
Pearl River8569208
Lafayette8008136
Hancock7110107
Oktibbeha6764117
Washington6756146
Neshoba6350200
Monroe6304156
Warren6267159
Panola6036122
Pontotoc599292
Bolivar5960143
Marshall5917115
Union558885
Pike5424133
Lincoln5192127
Alcorn509388
George454766
Scott447392
Leflore4377138
Tippah431780
Itawamba429192
Prentiss429074
Copiah423883
Simpson4238108
Wayne419663
Tate418999
Adams4174109
Yazoo411486
Sunflower4057104
Covington404891
Marion399699
Leake389784
Coahoma385996
Newton360273
Grenada3489100
Stone342657
Tishomingo320987
Attala318285
Jasper308261
Winston298191
Clay282672
Chickasaw277464
Clarke271784
Holmes257685
Calhoun256939
Smith241546
Yalobusha215447
Tallahatchie213849
Walthall203457
Lawrence202431
Greene202045
Perry195053
Amite191251
Webster191141
Noxubee173437
Montgomery168652
Jefferson Davis164041
Carroll158936
Tunica146533
Benton137531
Kemper136538
Claiborne124134
Choctaw123824
Humphreys122036
Franklin114127
Quitman100925
Wilkinson98335
Jefferson85832
Sharkey61620
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 757893

Reported Deaths: 12784
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1082301712
Mobile694251158
Madison47738562
Baldwin35347420
Shelby34758281
Tuscaloosa32576495
Montgomery32249645
Lee21576200
Calhoun19621363
Morgan19061307
Etowah18363413
Marshall17028252
Houston15881337
St. Clair14724270
Limestone13908178
Elmore13812239
Cullman13756228
Lauderdale12909263
Talladega12124200
DeKalb11705220
Walker10047303
Autauga9371119
Blount9272146
Jackson8970132
Coffee8550150
Colbert8229160
Dale8162142
Escambia632298
Tallapoosa6255165
Covington6214153
Chilton6152128
Russell586753
Franklin558292
Chambers5155127
Dallas4569173
Marion4490114
Clarke447070
Pike439188
Geneva415999
Lawrence4002101
Winston399982
Bibb388975
Barbour334667
Marengo317778
Monroe306844
Butler305878
Pickens296166
Henry288550
Randolph288255
Hale282981
Cherokee275649
Fayette268569
Washington241844
Crenshaw226962
Clay219260
Macon211154
Cleburne205746
Lamar184638
Conecuh173337
Lowndes167856
Coosa160031
Wilcox153033
Bullock145642
Perry132430
Sumter122635
Greene117941
Choctaw71925
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