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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: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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