Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester on Dec. 14, 2020, in New York. Lindsay was the first American to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool)

Mississippi’s top health officials, including State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, received the first COVID-19 vaccines in the state in a press conference on Monday.

Dobbs, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers and Director of Health Protection Jim Craig were the first in the state to receive the vaccine.

“Proud and privileged,” Dobbs tweeted on Monday, adding in a press conference that the shot “felt like a butterfly with a little sting.”

Dobbs said last week that 25,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered to the state this week. Frontline workers and those most at risk and long term care facilities will be the first to receive the vaccine. He said he expects the state will have enough vaccines for all nursing home residents and employees by next week, and many of the state’s largest hospitals will receive vaccine shipments this week.

But the vaccine is not expected to be widely available to the general public until the spring or summer of 2021.

The Mississippi State Department of Health has allotted the following phases and doses for vaccination distribution:

  • Phase 1a: Front-line health care workers, including first responders, pharmacists and the national guard (90,000 doses estimated)
  • Phase 1b: long-term and home care residents and staff (55,000 doses)
  • Phase 2: those over the age of 65; essential workers, including workers in: education, public health, dentistry, funeral homes, transportation, postal workers, grocery stores, meat packing; homeless people; people with obesity, heart disease, CPOD, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, asthma; and people incarcerated in prisons and jails (2.7 million)
  • Phase 3: general public (200,000 doses)

Meanwhile, COVID-19 spread regularly sets new peaks both nationally and statewide. Health officials have warned that ICU capacity in Mississippi is “full and many hospitalizations on the way.”

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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.