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WLOX TV Interview: George Regional Health System’s vaccine plan rolls efficiently on first day

Thursday, January 21, 2021


It was appropriate that the George Regional Health System gave their COVID-19 vaccines at a cattle yard. They herded patients through their well-planned system with precision and efficiency. People came from across the southern half of the state are going to Lucedale to get their coronavirus vaccine. On Tuesday, hundreds of cars snaked through a field organized like a line at Disney to the check-in, then to the injection and the 15-minute wait afterward. Wallace Stallings, 74, and his wife drove up from D’Iberville. “But it was well worth it, it really was,” Stallings said. “It’s not as bad as the stories I’m hearing from other areas. They have done a good, good job here. ”

Previous to finding out about the George Regional vaccines, Stallings said he has been frustrated trying to schedule a shot in Harrison County.“Well, most of this has been, well, you don’t know what to do. There are no instructions, it changes every day, anything like that,” he said. Charlotte Walker, 69, of Wiggins said she and her husband were on a waiting list to get a shot in Poplarville but were able to get the shot scheduled in Lucedale quicker.

George Regional CEO Greg Havard said he was pleased to see their planning pay off. “We started thinking about this probably in March or April,” he said. “We knew that if we ever did mass vaccinations, our health care system wouldn’t be able to handle all the traffic, so we knew in March or April we’d come to the fairgrounds.” A test run helped them work the kinks out.“We actually started out with our own employees. We kind of timed it to see what worked and what didn’t work well on our own staff, and we came out here and kind of had it figured out,” Havard said.

Approximately 1,100 people got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines Tuesday at the Leakesville and Lucedale locations. They expect to deliver about the same number again on Wednesday.

One Lucedale resident said she just waited patiently for the vaccine to come to her, then she gladly waited in line. “I was waiting on it to come available here, and when it became available, I’m here,” said Daisye Campbell, 69. “And it’s something that I need, so I didn’t mind the wait.”