Contact: James Carskadon
STARKVILLE, Miss.—The Mississippi Horse Park on the campus of Mississippi State University soon will become a public drive through COVID-19 vaccine distribution site.
The multipurpose event facility will be used by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) and Oktibbeha County Emergency Management to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as part of MSDH’s ongoing vaccination efforts across the state. In addition to making the facility available for use, MSU is providing police and emergency management personnel for logistical support.
“The unprecedented vaccination effort that is underway in our country and state requires an extraordinary amount of cooperation at every level of the process,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said. “Working together to turn a premier event venue into a vaccination site for the people of Oktibbeha County and the surrounding area is just one example of the teamwork it will take to deliver a safe and effective vaccine that will help bring this pandemic to an end.
“The Mississippi State Department of Health has been an invaluable partner throughout this pandemic as we have worked to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. I am proud that MSU, MSDH, Oktibbeha County Emergency Management, the Mississippi National Guard and the University of Mississippi Medical Center can all work together to carry out this vital mission.”
All appointments for vaccinations at the Horse Park will be made through MSDH and will be based on the eligibility guidelines established by the agency. MSDH will determine the days and hours of operation for the site. The vaccination site is not exclusive to MSU students, faculty or staff. However, MSU personnel are encouraged to participate if they meet MSDH eligibility guidelines. To make an appointment, visit covidvaccine.umc.edu or call 877-978-6453.
For more vaccine information from MSDH, visit https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420,976.html.
COVID testing is also being conducted at this site.
Built in 1999, the Mississippi Horse Park was organized as a partnership between MSU, the city of Starkville and Oktibbeha County. The facility’s large parking lot and ability to provide an outdoor covered area for vaccine distribution will help facilitate vaccinations at a large scale as more doses become available.
In addition to hosting equine and other events, the Horse Park serves many functions for the campus community. It hosts labs and classes for the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, provides parking for student preview days and is home to MSU Extension’s termite application training facility. It also is used as RV parking during MSU home football game weekends.
MSU has assisted with the state’s pandemic response in several ways since COVID-19 first emerged in Mississippi last year. For example, College of Veterinary Medicine personnel have assisted MSDH with processing COVID-19 test samples, while Bagley College of Engineering faculty staff have produced 3-D printed face shields for medical personnel and retrofitted 550 ventilators for use in Mississippi hospitals.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.