Mississippi has turned away hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccine shots

Published 2:31 pm Friday, June 11, 2021

Due to lagging demand for shots, Mississippi has transferred well over three-quarters of a million doses from its federal coronavirus vaccine allocation to other states, officials say.

In recent months, the state has transferred 871,950 vaccine doses to Rhode Island, Maine and a nationwide vaccine pool, said Liz Sharlot, spokesperson for the Mississippi Department of Health. Maine is among the states in the U.S. with the highest vaccination rates.

Sharlot said 32,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine set aside for Mississippi by the federal government were sent to Rhode Island on April 20, and 32,400 doses to Maine.

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The state has transferred at least 807,150 doses to a federal vaccine pool. The state’s first transfer to the pool was May 6.

Each week, the federal government provides every state with a number of available doses to be ordered and distributed to providers, Sharlot said. This number is based on “provider demand and the individual state’s needs,” Sharlot said.

Officials with the state Department of Health review the number of doses made available for Mississippi to order each week and determine whether to order additional doses, or send the doses to the federal pool for other states to use.

Mississippi has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, with around 29% vaccinated. Just over 930,650 people in the state are fully vaccinated, according to data provided by the state Department of Health.

Officials say they want to waste as little vaccine as possible. Approximately 7,850 doses have gone to waste in Mississippi so far, Sharlot said.

Since the start of the pandemic, at least 7,353 people in the state of 3 million people have died of coronavirus-related complications. There have been approximately 319,115 cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi.