Editor’s note: The state health department announced on Jan. 6 that Mississippians ages 75 and over can now receive a vaccination. This story has since been updated. 

Mississippians 75 and older are now eligible to receive vaccines for COVID-19, the state health department announced Wednesday.  On Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves initially announced the group would be eligible to receive shots the week of Jan. 11, with those 65 and older to become eligible the following week.

In its first phase of distribution, the state is currently administering doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to healthcare workers and long-term care residents. Originally, those 75 and older were scheduled to receive the vaccine in mid-January, and those 65 and older were scheduled for February.

TIMELINE: Here’s when you expect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Mississippi. 

The state health department is now operating 18 vaccination drive-thru locations across the state. Those eligible must make an appointment on the health department’s website — which also includes a full list of locations and schedules — or can call 877-978-6453 for more information.

Reeves also clarified the number of vaccines Mississippi has received and distributed. The state has so far distributed about 165,000 doses, and about 86,000 of those have gone towards the state’s enrolled providers. The remaining 78,000 are being distributed through a partnership between the federal government and pharmacies CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate long-term care residents.

Among those vaccines in the hands of the state’s providers, about 23,000, or roughly a quarter, had been administered as of last week, while only about 2% of doses provided through the pharmacies have been administered.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs added that about 20,000 doses will go out to private clinics this week to help expand distribution.

Meanwhile, the spread of the coronavirus continues to reach new highs in the state, and Dobbs said he expects that trend to continue as post-holiday cases begin to be reported to MSDH.

On New Year’s Eve, 357 patients were in intensive care units with COVID-19, a new record for the state. The seven-day average for hospitalizations continues to climb after reaching a new peak last month, and the seven-day average for new cases saw a new high of 2,239 on Sunday.

Alex Rozier

Alex Rozier, a native of New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data reporter. He analyzes data and creates visuals that further inform our reporting. He also reports on the environment, transportation and Mississippi culture and is a member of the engagement team. Alex, whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe and Open Secrets, has a bachelor’s in journalism from Boston University.