BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A new vaccination site for the Mississippi State Department of Health was up and running Monday at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Moving from the Harrison County Health Department, the coliseum helps to accommodate more people.
“The state stepped in and came by to look at the site last week and loved it,” said Coast Coliseum Director Matt McDonnell. “They thought it would probably be one of the best sites to handle the amount of capacity that they anticipate needing to handle.”
To get the vaccine, you must still sign up for an appointment online. However, now people 18 years and older can get the vaccine if they have underlying conditions.
“This was great today,” said 86-year-old Donald Redder. “We zoomed right on through. It was a really good process.”
The vaccination process starts at Gate 3 off Beauvoir Road. National Guard members will take your information, then place a time sticker on your windshield. You then drive through to another side to get your shot.
“Once they get the shot they have to go out and wait 15 minutes,” said Col. Patrick Kirby. “That’s our method; they go outside and they still wait in their vehicle. We have EMS and AMR out there in case they have a reaction.”
There were about 30 National Guard members on the grounds of the coliseum to help sign people in, administer the vaccine and monitor people after. This location will administer up to 400 vaccines every day, except on Wednesdays, starting at 9 a.m.
“We want to say for the 43 years that we have served this community that we are proud to be able to offer this to the state health department in conjunction with the Harrison County Board of Supervisors,” McDonnell said. “It’s important that we play a multi-facet role in helping this community get back up from this pandemic.”
Whenever doses are gone for the day is when the site will close. The health department aims to finish up before 5 p.m. each day depending on appointment times.
Linda Parrott is 69-years-old and said she was thrilled when it was finally her turn. Parrott said as people get the vaccine it’s important to encourage and educate others about your experience.
“Well, I think the community itself, as we get the vaccine and we don’t have side effects, that we need to communicate that to the people around us, so they begin to trust the medical community again,” she said.