As of Tuesday, Mississippians over the age of 65 will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine. At this point, that access is limited. Demand for the vaccine has, to date, far outpaced the ability of health-care providers to meet the demand.
On Tuesday morning, there was a waiting list of 357 people just to access the state’s COVID-19 vaccine website, where people can make appointments to be vaccinated. Because the vaccination takes about 20 minutes to perform, the available appointment times go quickly.
As of Tuesday, about 700,000 people are being vaccinated per day in the U.S. Health experts say 1.8 million people need to be vaccinated each day to achieve broad-scale immunity by the spring.
So while the vaccine is available, it is at this point not always accessible.
Whether or not to get the vaccine is, at least at this point, a personal choice although health experts uniformly point to the vaccine as the best means of ending the pandemic that has killed almost 2 million people worldwide, 384,000 Americans and 5,284 Mississippians.
For those who are uncertain, we suggest using this time to learn more about the vaccine so that you will be able to make an informed decision.
One common fear we are hearing is that the vaccine might actually cause COVID-19, but according to the Mayo Clinic, there is no risk of that because both of the available vaccines do not use the live COVID-19 virus.
Side effects, too, are also a concern. Much as it is with the flu shot, the vaccine side effects generally mimic the disease, although to much smaller degrees. They are typically soreness at the site of the injection, fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain and chills and typically subside after 2-3 days, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Those who have had allergic reactions to other vaccines should consult their doctor. In fact, if you have any medical conditions that cause concern, consulting a doctor is a wise choice.
There are numerous online resources that provide detailed information about the vaccines — among them cdc.gov, fda.gov and the state health department site at covid.vaccine.umc.edu.
There are also two phone numbers where Mississippains can get information and make appointments — 877-978-6453 and 601-965-4071.
While we are often tempted to be influenced by social media, we should remember that social media is not now, nor has it ever been, a reliable source for information on health issues. Fortunately, there are many trustworthy sources for information – including hospitals and state and federal health organizations that are accessible through the internet.
The delay in getting a vaccine we are currently experiencing allows people time to do their own research about the safety of the vaccine.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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