Demand for COVID-19 vaccination in Mississippi continues to drop

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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TUNICA COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Mississippi health officials are finding new ways to get people vaccinated, including pop-up sites across the state in Tunica, Coahoma, and Quitman counties.

Officials say there is plenty of the vaccine available for whomever wants it, but the problem is they’re finding fewer people who do.

Mississippi state health officials say 870,000 vaccine doses allocated for Mississippi were sent back to the federal government or given to other states. Thousands of shots that were supposed to go into Mississippians’ arms were re-routed to Rhode Island and Maine.

“If Mississippi people don’t understand how important it is, we want to protect other Americans. So, I was happy to get ahead of the federal program to help our fellow Americans in the northeast,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

According to the respective state’s health departments, 62 percent of the population in Maine is fully vaccinated; 55 percent in Rhode Island.

Just 29 percent of Mississippians are fully vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s the worst in the country, but there are some bright spots.

“We know that for people 65 and older, we’ve done a pretty good job, 75 percent plus of everybody in Mississippi 65 and older has been vaccinated, which is fantastic,” said Dobbs.

Mississippi is also seeing a dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Deaths have been cut in half in the past two weeks compared to the prior two-week period.

However, state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers still says about 90 percent of the deaths comes from the un-vaccinated population.

The health department is also encouraging businesses to offer incentives to their employees to get vaccinated like a day off or bonuses.

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