The mission of Forrest Health is to do what is best for our patients. With this in mind, it is our goal to provide you with as much information and as many resources as possible about the COVID-19 vaccines so that you can make an informed and educated decision on whether or not to take the vaccine. We understand you may have concerns about the safety of the vaccines and realize this is a personal choice for each individual.

Our experts have studied the science, testing, and results and have reviewed the approval process of the FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and strongly encourage you to consider taking the vaccine.

We hope you will take time to read about the vaccines so you will be ready to make a decision as they become available. 

Forrest General Hospital, and all Forrest Health facilities, are following the ACIP and Mississippi State Department of Health recommendations in terms of timelines and distribution. The Mississippi State Department of Health provides a listing of vaccination sites and eligibility on their website.

Please continue wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often. No one tool alone is going to stop the pandemic.

We will be updating this page as new information becomes available.

Availability

Forrest General Hospital is not providing the vaccine to the public. However, the hospital has partnered with Hattiesburg Clinic to create HealthWorks Immunization Clinic, which will be providing the vaccine to the public according to the timeline determined by MSDH and as the vaccines are available.  See “When and Where Can I Get the Vaccine?” below for the most recent information regarding appointments at HealthWorks Immunization Clinic.

To check vaccination availability at HealthWorks Immunization Clinic, a service of Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic,  please visit this link.

For patients who received their first dose at the Healthworks Immunization Clinic, the hospital and clinic are still planning to vaccinate everyone with their second dose as scheduled as long as those vaccines are made available. Everyone who already has a first-dose or second-dose appointment is highly encouraged to keep their appointments.

Forrest Health Regional Hospitals – Vaccine Status: 

Highland Community Hospital, Picayune: COVID-19 vaccines for ages 18 and up will be given at Highland Community Hospital on Wednesday, March 31, Thursday, April 1, Wednesday April 7, and Thursday, April 8. To schedule an appointment, call (601) 358-9457 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Please leave your name, number and date of birth via voicemail.

Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Prentiss: COVID-19 vaccines for ages 18 and up are now available. To make an appointment, please call (601) 408-9701 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Marion General Hospital, Columbia: COVID-19 vaccines for ages 18 and up are now available. To make an appointment, please call (601) 408-9701 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Pearl River County Hospital, Poplarville: COVID-19 vaccines for ages 18 and up will be given at Pearl River County Hospital on Tuesday, March 30, and Thursday, April 8. To schedule an appointment, call (601) 240-2023 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Walthall General Hospital, Tylertown: No longer accepting new appointments for patients who are requesting their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

The Mississippi State Department of Health provides a listing of vaccination sites and eligibility on their website. 

For those who already received their first dose at a Forrest Health regional hospital, the hospital is still planning to vaccinate everyone with their second dose as scheduled as long as those vaccines are made available. Everyone who already has a first-dose or second-dose appointment is highly encouraged to keep their appointments.

We will provide more information on this site as we learn more. Please continue to check back with us for the latest updates.

You probably have many questions about the vaccine and what to expect once it is available. The first thing to do is to learn as much about the types of vaccines and the benefits. When you go to your appointment, you should receive what is called a Fact Sheet that tells you more about the specific vaccine you will be receiving here is the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Fact Sheet, and here is Moderna’s Fact Sheet. At this time, these are the only two COVID-19 vaccines that are approved and being distributed to healthcare workers and long-term care facilities. With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need two shots, so go ahead and schedule your second appointment at the time of your first one.

There is more detailed information about what to expect before, during and after your visit here. 

Be sure to speak to your healthcare provider if you have questions.

Safety

On December 11, 2020, the FDA granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which has been shown to be safe and effective for use in people ages 16 or older as determined by data from the manufacturer and findings from large clinical trials. Click here to learn more

Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. However, your arm may be sore or red. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Some people report getting a headache or fever when getting a vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is working and building up protection to disease.

Pregnant women have not been part of the studies. According to the CDC, while studies have not yet been done, based on how mRNA vaccines work. Experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant. However, pregnant women should consult with their physician and discuss things like:

  • The likelihood of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Risks of COVID-19 to them and potential risks to their fetuses
  • What is known about the vaccine: how well it works to develop protection in the body, known side effects of the vaccine, and lack of data during pregnancy.


Information about allergic reactions from the CDC. 

No. According to the CDC, “None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States uses the live virus that causes COVID-19. You may have side effects like a slight fever after you get a vaccine. This is normal and a sign that your immune system is learning how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Click here to learn the facts behind COVID-19 vaccines. 

Learn more about the science behind the vaccine below.

Science

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are new types of vaccines called mRNA vaccines, or messenger RNA vaccines. These vaccines have been held to the same safety and effectiveness standard as all other types of vaccines in the United States. Here is the FDA infographic, “The Path for a COVID-19 Vaccine from Research to Emergency Use Authorization” that describes the process in an easy to understand chart.

According to the CDC, “To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.” Learn more about mRNA vaccines and other types of vaccines

The CDC explains how COVID-19 vaccines work this way:

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

Learn more detailed information about how the vaccines work at the CDC website.

Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg Clinic Announce COVID-19 Immunization Clinic

Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic announced today another joint venture in the battle against COVID-19. HealthWorks Immunization Clinic, a collaboration between the two health care entities, will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to individuals, 75 and older, effective Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

Forrest General employees say why they are choosing to take the vaccine.

Forrest General employees share why they choose to take the vaccine and what it means to them.

Forrest General employees begin receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

Forrest General employees began receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Although vaccinations are optional for employees, they were encouraged to consider taking it. Educational information was provided so they could make an informed decision.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Forrest Health Vice President, Millie Swan, sat down with Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steve Farrell, to discuss the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. They also address continued safety precautions throughout the holidays.

Original Airdate: 12/17/2020
  • “It’s exciting to be the first at Forrest General to get the vaccine. We are all ready to move past this. One of the reasons I am getting the vaccine is for my parents. I’m ready to see them and hug them. My family is very important. All of us nurses, we need our families. We’ve been through so much over the last year.”

    Jessica Bass, RN

    FGH ICU Nurse
  • “I’m very proud that I work for Forrest General and that I’m offered the opportunity to be able to get this vaccine. I feel like this is what is best for the patient, which is our motto and goal, as well as for their families, my coworkers and my community and certainly my family. I got the vaccine because I’m in a high-risk age group, and I am one of the first people the patients see — many of them may be COVID-19 patients.”

    Betty Bly Hatten, RN

    FGH Emergency Department Nurse
  • “I’m excited (to get this vaccine). I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while. It gives me hope that there is an end in sight to this pandemic. I wanted to be on the frontlines. Emotionally, this vaccine makes me feel good that we’re going to get back to some feeling of being normal again.”

    Eric Jordan, MD

    FGH Emergency Department Medical Director
  • “I am very fortunate and blessed to be one of the first people to get the vaccine. I did a fair amount of reading and studying on it to educate myself as well as to educate others. It’s a huge relief to know that we will have some protection against it (COVID-19). It’s been a long time coming. To finally have some relief in sight, I think that’s a little bit cathartic. It’s a weight off our shoulders.”

    Steven Farrell, MD

    FGH Chief Medical Officer
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Mississippi State Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline

The Mississippi State Department of Health is now operating a hotline for convenient answers to questions about COVID-19 by phone. Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday):
877-978-6453.

Additional Resources

What to Expect When Receiving the Vaccine

Vaccine Benefits

Moderna fact sheet

Pfizer fact sheet