U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jacob Cranston explains testing procedures to a patient at a mobile testing site in Natchez. “Vaccination Day” is one of several planned events to promote vaccinations among Jackson’s vulnerable population who may have difficulty otherwise obtaining them from other sites.
U.S. National Guard photo by Spc. Jovi Prevot
Due to winter weather, Jackson has postponed its first “Vaccination Day” where vulnerable residents were to receive 2,000 vaccine doses. Originally planned for Feb. 20, the City of Jackson now asks the public to hold off calling to register until the event is rescheduled.
Vaccination Day is planned as a “direct response to concerns of limited access to vaccines within the City of Jackson, the state’s most populous municipality with a near 85 percent Black population,” the state health department stated. Registrants must fit eligibility requirements of being 65 or older or having any of a list of chronic health conditions.
‘The Best Chance We Have’
Vaccination Day was scheduled for the Jackson Convention Complex. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba explained the need for events like Vaccination Day in the Feb. 17 press release. “The best chance we have at beating COVID-19 and returning to some semblance of normalcy is to make sure that we all get vaccinated,” Lumumba said.
“This should start with our most vulnerable populations. However, in Jackson, so many of our residents, especially our elders, have limited access to technology and are neither able to register for a vaccine online nor able to travel outside our City limits to get one,” Lumumba said.
The City is calling for volunteers to register to help coordinate the event. Volunteers may register by emailing [email protected] or by calling 601-960-2324.
New COVID-19 Strain
During routine testing, the Mississippi State Department of Health detected a new COVID-19 strain in the state. Dubbed B1.1.7, the variant has so far appeared in 40 states and is “is known to spread more easily and quickly than other strains.”
Experts suspect that B1.1.7 could cause a more severe infection in an unvaccinated individual, but have not established any direct evidence.
Preliminary studies present strong evidence that vaccines are effective against B1.1.7, but experts still recommended regular mask usage and social distancing regardless of vaccinations.
COVID-19 cases continued their downward trend this week, although reporting is likely at a standstill due to the severe winter storm afflicting much of the state. MSDH detected just 360 cases in today's report with three fatalities. Long-term care facility outbreaks reached 105 as of today, down from an average 113 earlier in the week.
Due to the cold weather, some vaccination sites are closed for today with appointments rescheduled. A full list of vaccination sites both open and closed may be found here.
Gov. Tate Reeves confirmed that vaccinations rescheduled for Saturday and Sunday will proceed as planned as the winter storm abates.
“Vaccine sites are OPEN tomorrow and Sunday—check your email to see when your postponed appointment was rescheduled! Monday/Tuesday and some Wednesday of this week rescheduled for this weekend. Do not miss out!” Reeves tweeted today.
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].