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Second round of COVID-19 vaccines start at local long term care facility

Some residents and staff members at the Picayune Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center are vaccinated for COVID-19 now that second doses of the vaccine were administered Friday morning.

Nurses were set up in the facility’s dining room with plenty of PPE, paperwork and vials of the COVID-19 vaccine to administer to the long term care facility’s staff. Residents were vaccinated in their rooms.

Staff members and residents who initially declined the vaccine, but later decided they wanted it, also received their first doses on Friday.

Two doses are required for both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to be as effective as possible.

CNAs Bobbie Wood and Arien Freeman came on their morning off to get their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Each got their temperature taken before the vaccine was administered.

Wood was feeling excited and nervous before her vaccination. She said she decided to be vaccinated because she works around nursing home residents and has sick family members at home. She wants to protect both groups from COVID-19.

Freeman was very nervous to be vaccinated, not helped by her strong dislike for needles. Freeman was initially hesitant to get vaccinated after seeing posts on social media that made claims about the vaccine’s effects.
But her family really wanted her to get vaccinated because she works in the healthcare field.

“I was getting chewed out by family,” she said.

Freeman’s grand aunt convinced her to overcome her hesitation and get vaccinated Friday.

As of Feb. 5, there have been 3,387 people vaccinated for COVID-19 in Pearl River County, according to reporting from the Mississippi State Department of Health. Across the state, 305,192 doses have been administered. The federal pharmacy partnership with CVS and Walgreens, which is vaccinating long term care facilities like Picayune Rehabilitation Clinic, has administered 24,752 first doses and 6,363 second doses in Mississippi.

According to MSDH, there is a racial disparity in who is being vaccinated for COVID-19. Although approximately 58 percent of Mississippians are white, 69 percent of the people who have been vaccinated in the state are white. Only 18 percent of Mississippians who have been vaccinated are Black, even though 37 percent of Mississippians are Black.