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Panola Medical taking vaccines on the road

Panola Medical Center will soon begin a program designed to make the process of receiving a vaccination for the COVID-19 easier here than almost anywhere in the United States.

Chris Ware, the hospital’s Chief of Operations, told the Board of Supervisors at Monday’s meeting the plan to begin offering shots through a mobile program is in the final stages of planning and will be implemented within the next week.

“The staff at our hospital has worked hard from the beginning to make sure Panola Medical Center had the best plans for testing and vaccinating and people in the state took notice,” Ware said. “They basically suggested to us that we should take our show on the road, and we were anxious to make the most of this opportunity.”

Ware said the program isn’t quite as simple as having nurses drive to neighborhoods and go door-to-door, but it’s also not that far from what will actually happen. Essentially, hospital staff will organize field trips to houses, churches, and other community gathering places where people who have limited access to rides can be vaccinated.

The hospital switched to the Johnson & Johnson shot – the one-dose option – last week and had planned to use the same vaccination for the mobile program until Tuesday when the use of the Johnson & Johnson shot was temporarily paused while doctors and scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  investigate reports of six women who had adverse reactions to the shot.

In the meantime, Panola Medical will continue to vaccinate people with the Moderno version of the shot, which requires two doses taken a month apart.

Ware said he would continue to update supervisors as the plan to provide vaccinations in homes and area buildings materializes.