OCH Regional Medical Center among clinics adjusting to Gov. Reeves changing vaccination plan

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Some healthcare workers and administrators were taken by surprise Tuesday when Governor Tate Reeves announced a change to the Mississippi State Department of Health’s vaccination schedule.

“Our understanding since the fall was that we would not open up shots to the 65 and older population until mid-February,” said OCH Regional Medical Center Interim Chief Nursing Officer Savannah Brown.

Like all other vaccination centers in the state, OCH no longer has any new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Brown says the hospital started giving doses to people over the age of 75 Tuesday and knew those shots would be in high demand


“The first hundred filled up in 30 minutes on Monday morning with the signup and our phones rang just about every 30 seconds,” she said.

But then Reeves made the unexpected announcement that people ages 65 and up and those between the ages of 18 and 64 with high-risk medical conditions were now eligible to receive the vaccine.

“As you can imagine, the call volume then escalated pretty heavily,” Brown said. “I believe we have had 700 voicemails on our machines so far.”

Since Monday, OCH vaccinated 250 people over the age of 75 and will be administering 300 more doses throughout the month of January.

“We opened up another 100 shots for Friday for this at-risk group with plans to have a high-risk shot clinic once a week.”

Every dose of the COVID-19 vaccine available to the public has been reserved in Mississippi and the department of health says they expect to receive more sometime around February.

“We’ve kind of had to readjust our scheduling,” said OCH Director of Pharmacy Stacy Weaver. “We’ve had to readjust our personnel so that we can take care of in-house too while we are taking care of our public that are not patients.”

OCH says the department of health has assured them they will have more of the vaccine ready in time for members of the public who have already gotten their first dose, to get their second.

“We’re doing all that we can to vaccinate everybody that needs and that wants a vaccination,” Weaver said.

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