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Teachers and first responders eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Teachers and first responders will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Mississippi beginning March 1. Those individuals can start making appointments to receive vaccines Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Teachers, staff and employees at K-12 schools, preschools or childcare settings can start making appointments for vaccines for dates after Monday. First responders and emergency personnel are also eligible, beginning March 1, and as such can also begin making appointments. That category includes law enforcement, fire services, public safety and emergency management officials.

All health care workers, people aged 65 and older and people with eligible chronic health conditions were already eligible for the vaccine. The qualifying health conditions include cancer, kidney disease, COPD, down syndrome, heart conditions, an immunocompromised state, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, diabetes and other medical conditions determined by a medical provider.

Appointments are required for COVID-19 vaccinations. The Mississippi State Department of Health website added a vaccine provider map to its website msdh.ms.gov.

Highland Community Hospital in Picayune and Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home in Poplarville are both administering vaccines.

There are also 22 drive-thru vaccination sites in the state. Appointments at drive-thru sites can be made online at covidvaccine.umc.edu. The state’s COVID-19 hotline number is 877-978-6453.

There are 31 Walmart pharmacies offering vaccinations throughout the state. Appointments can be made for Walmart sites at walmart.com/cp/1228302.

As of Feb. 24, 525,323 vaccines have been administered in Mississippi, of which 358,246 were first doses and 167,077 were second doses. There have been 6,892 vaccine doses administered in Pearl River County.