More vaccines coming to Mississippi, state officials continue to address the low number African Americans getting the vaccine

Addressing vaccine hesitancy in Mississippi

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A relatively smooth COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Mississippi as tens of thousands roll up their sleeves for that first shot, some even getting the second dose, but there are some who are hesitant to get in line.

“Very pleased with the vaccine rollout as it stands right now,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.

As of Friday, 226,209 Mississippians have been vaccinated, that number also includes second doses.

People over the age of 75 make up the largest number of recipients, but the number of African Americans getting vaccinated remains low at just 17%.

“We’re gonna use our black community leaders to help give us ideas and understanding,” Dobbs said.

Two more drive-thru vaccination sites will open up next week bringing that total to 21 across the state.

In DeSoto County, 7,154 people have been vaccinated.

The drive-thru site was moved to the Landers Center to handle the turnout, and everything has been going smoothly.

Dr. Dobbs said on average the state has been receiving 37,000 first doses a week with even more coming next week.

He also said about 9,000 have been reclaimed from the long-term care program, and that’s in addition to the ones the state is set to receive from the federal government.

“We were given additional vaccines from the federal government as anticipated, they have told us we can expect about 16% increases over the next few weeks, and so those combined we should have an additional 15,000 doses or so just from those two sources,” Dobbs said.

Mississippi health officials said they have seen hospital and ICU numbers decline, but they’re asking the public to not let their guard down.

“We are still seeing a lot of cases, 2000 cases in a single day…We reached over 1,000 deaths in December, today in January we have reached almost the same number 935 deaths,” State Epidemiologist Paul Byers said.

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