COVID-19 vaccination rate increases as cases surge again in Mississippi

Justin Lanier gets a COVID vaccine Wednesday at Jackson Discount Pharmacy Store in Gulfport.
Justin Lanier gets a COVID vaccine Wednesday at Jackson Discount Pharmacy Store in Gulfport.(John Fitzhugh)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:39 PM CDT
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SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The demand for vaccines is slowly increasing in South Mississippi as the number of COVID-19 infections increases. More than 40,000 people got protection from the coronavirus last week, up from 20,000 two weeks ago.

From June 1 to July 17, the number of vaccines each week averaged around 23,000, according to MSDH. The week of July 24, as the number of COVID-19 cases began to rise in the state, the number of vaccines administered jumped up to more than 40,000. In one week, it was a 73 percent increase over the previous six weeks averaged together.

In all, the Mississippi Department of Health says 34 percent of the state’s residents have been vaccinated as of July 28.

Weekly Overall Totals of Vaccinations Administered in Mississippi
Weekly Overall Totals of Vaccinations Administered in Mississippi(MSDH)

On Wednesday, the Health Department in the Kiln hosted a pop-up clinic for people to get vaccinated. Despite some prior hesitancy over the vaccine, Phillip and Courtney Tucker were there to roll up their sleeves.

Because they both have health issues, they said they decided to listen to the people that they trust.

“My mother talked me into it,” Philip said. “So yeah, I decided to get it. All my doctors have basically told me I should get it, so we’re here.”

The couple ended up going to a pharmacy for shots because of a preference for the Moderna vaccine. They said they were happy to have options.

In Gulfport, Justin Lanier of Ocean Springs went to Jackson Discount Pharmacy for his shot. He said he was motivated by an incentive program his company offered.

“They’re paying us an extra set amount of money to go ahead and get this vaccine done for the health of our company and our customers,” said Lanier.

Bo Lindsay is the president at FreedomWay Trucks in Gulfport where Lanier is employed and said he is happy the incentive is working and that the company wants to encourage its 55 employees to get vaccinated.

“We don’t want to stand in the way of anybody who wants to get vaccinated,” Lindsay said.

Lanier said he, too, had some hesitancy about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’ve had some friends that’s done it and some that’s not, and I was really on the fence about it,” he said. “But that incentive program really helped push me over the edge to come and want to get it done.”

Lanier also said he had been listening to misinformation that he finally realized was false.

“I’ve heard a lot of bad things as opposed to good things,” he said. “But necessarily, I haven’t seen anybody really get (negatively) affected by it that I know up close and personal. That being said, I went ahead and made the decision today to move forward with it... just because I don’t want to be the reason for anybody else to get sick.”

Chain pharmacies, including Walmart, Walgreens and CVS, are offering the free vaccinations, as are locally-owned drug stores across South Mississippi. Appointments can be made online for most of them.

In addition, the health department is continuing with its pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The clinic in the Kiln continues from 9am to 3pm Thursday, July 29, and from 9am to noon on July 30-31 at the Hancock County Shelter on Highway 43 in the Kiln.

To find a location where you can get the free COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit the locator on MSDH’s website.

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