Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Thursday that eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine is being expanded to include all Mississippians ages 50 years or older. There are currently over 11,000 open first-dose appointments available on the MSDH website.
The announcement comes one day after Reeves lifted all state-imposed mask mandates and COVID-19 related restrictions on businesses. First responders and employees of K-12 schools, preschools and daycares became eligible for vaccination on Monday. People ages 16 to 49 years old are also eligible if they have a a qualifying chronic health condition that puts them at higher risk from COVID-19.
The Mississippi State Department of Health reported on Monday that 407,647 people in Mississippi — about 14% of the state’s population — have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. About 219,000 people have received both doses since the state began distributing vaccines in December.
January saw the most coronavirus-related deaths in a single month in Mississippi, with 1,240 confirmed. The state also set new single day records for new cases: 3,255 cases on Jan. 7, and 98 deaths on Jan. 12.
Additionally, the number of COVID-19 cases, COVID-related hospital admissions and clinic visits for COVID-19 like illnesses in Mississippi have been trending sharply downward in 2021.
MSDH reported 479 new COVID-19 cases and 21 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday. This brings Mississippi to a total of 296,154 coronavirus cases and 6,764 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The modified eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccine in Mississippi are as follows:
- All persons aged 50 years and older.
- All teachers/staff/employees in K-12, preschool or childcare settings.
- All first responders (including law enforcement, public safety, fire services and emergency management officials)
- All healthcare personnel.
- Persons aged 16-49 years with underlying medical conditions, as follows: cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Down syndrome, heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies), immunocompromised from solid organ transplant, obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2) or severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, diabetes, or other medical conditions determined by the medical provider.
-- Article credit to Will Stribling of Missisippi Today --