djr-2021-01-30-news-vaccines-twp4

Kilpatrick readies a COVID-19 vaccine dose for the next patient.

TUPELO • As Mississippi continues its efforts to vaccinate residents across the state, the Mississippi Department of Health announced that it will begin administering Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine (also known as Janssen.)

The vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization on Feb. 27 for use in individuals 18 and over.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine offers full protection 28 days after vaccination and has been shown to be effective at preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death although it is slightly less effective than its two-dose counterparts.

“To be clear, it does not show the same efficacy at preventing any symptomatic illness, but where it counts, it looks good,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said. “Even with the variants that have been identified in South Africa and other places, there are still some significant residual connections, so we’re very excited to have this in our tool chest.”

MSDH has received an initial allocation of 24,000 doses of the Johnsons & Johnson vaccine. These have been distributed to enrolled vaccine providers throughout the state and to select MSDH drive-thru vaccination sites.

The vaccine will be available Thursday at vaccination sites in Madison and Lauderdale counties, and Friday at Lowndes and Jones county sites.

The state will also continue to administer first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Residents will have the option to specifically select the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if it is available at their local vaccination site.

A total of 666,502 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered as of Wednesday – 429,557 first doses and 236,945 second doses.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Mississippi had a population of 2,976,149 as of July 1, 2019. That means only about 14% of Mississippians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Fewer than 8% have been fully vaccinated.

Appointments can be scheduled by visiting covidvaccine.umc.edu or calling the state’s COVID hotline at 877-978-6453.

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