COVID-19 update: All vaccination boosters now available in Mississippi

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 948 new positive cases of COVID-19 Saturday-Monday and 54 new deaths. The numbers bring the state totals to 505,266 cases and 10,129 deaths.

Lincoln County has recorded 5,483 cases and 136 deaths over the course of the pandemic — two new cases reported Tuesday. As of Nov. 1, 39% of the county’s residents have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 35% are fully vaccinated.

Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians who want a vaccine booster are now eligible to receive one and can choose which one to get, according to MSDH. Nationally, 58% of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Mississippi, 45.7% of the population has been fully vaccinated, and 52% of residents have had at least one dose.

Pfizer booster shots have been available in the state since late September.  As of Monday, county health departments have begun offering Moderna boosters. Johnson & Johnson boosters will not be available at the health departments, but are available through many clinics and pharmacies statewide.

Anyone who meets eligibility criteria can request a vaccine of a different type than the one used for their primary regimen. For example, studies have shown that people who receive an mRNA booster after receiving the one-dose J&J vaccine see a much higher increase in antibody levels than those who received a J&J booster.

Though people can mix and match boosters, the qualifiers and time frame for getting them vary.

“If you think that you fall into one of those categories, we encourage you to get a booster … We encourage you to discuss it with your physician if you’re not sure that you meet one of those criteria,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

Anyone age 18 or older who took the J&J vaccine is eligible for a booster two months after their one-dose shot. Anyone who received a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago — and falls into one of the categories below — is eligible for a booster.

Eligible categories

• Age 65 or older

• Long-term care facility residents

• Age 18 or older with certain underlying medical conditions, including:

o Chronic kidney or lung diseases

o Dementia or other neurological conditions

o Diabetes type 1 or 2

o Down syndrome

o Heart conditions or hypertension

o Liver disease

o Obesity

o Pregnancy

o Sickle cell disease or thalassemia

o Stroke

o Current or former smoker

o Substance abuse disorder

• Age 18 or older who work in high-risk settings increasing risk of exposure, including:

o First responders and corrections workers

o Educators and support staff

o Food and agriculture workers

o Manufacturing workers

o U.S. Postal Service or public transit workers

o Grocery store workers

Mississippi Today contributed to this report.