Health officials working with Black Mississippians to improve vaccination rate

Health officials working with Black Mississippians to improve vaccination rate

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Tougaloo College hosted a virtual COVID-19 panel Friday morning to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on minorities and vaccination implications.

The panel included the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Central Mississippi Chief Operating Officer Dr. Obie McNair and University of Mississippi Medical Center Cardiologist Dr. Myrna Alexander Nickens.

Fauci says the vaccine is safe because the testing was done independently with no oversight from the government or any other body to interfere.

Fauci has full confidence in the vaccine and says that’s why he was vaccinated, and why President Biden and Vice President Harris were vaccinated.

Dobbs says vaccinations among the black community is up to 21 percent from 11 percent, which he admitted is still not OK, but progress from where the vaccinations began.

Dobbs says 72 percent of Mississippians plan to take the vaccine and just 16 percent do not plan to take it. The other 12 percent is unsure.

Percentage-wise, he found that white Mississippians are more likely to be willing to take the vaccine than Black or Latino Mississippians.

He says the health department has been working with church leaders to get more Black Mississippians on board with the vaccine.

There’s also been targeted outreach, including a program in Jackson that he did not want to reveal yet.

Dr. McNair says a lack of access is one of the main reasons Black Mississippians are getting vaccinated at a lower rate.

He also cited a large amount of disinformation as a reason many people feel uneasy to get the vaccine.

“Let’s not let the internet practice medicine for us,” he said.

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