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Dosage data shows COVID-19 vaccine demand dropping in Mississippi

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Fewer Mississippians are getting the COVID-19 vaccine now than than they were last month, with the number of weekly doses dropping 34 percent in a three-week period, according to data from the state’s department of health.

However, the last two full weeks of dosage data show a much smaller decrease, which Jackson State University Assistant Professor of Public Health Dr. Nelson Atehortua said could indicate a plateau.

“We’re still lagging behind from an important level of vaccination that can help us put this out of the woods,” Atehortua said.

Atehortua said the ebb and flow of vaccination demand sometimes matches the rate of transmission: When cases fall, demand for the shots falls, too.

“People get scared that they’re going to die. And then that’s when they decide to go and get the vaccine, no matter the consequences,” Atehortua said.

Now that it’s been nearly a month since cases peaked in Mississippi, with school in session and average weekly cases at almost half of what they were weeks ago, people aren’t as fearful.

But Atehortua said comparing last year’s cases and deaths with this year shows undeniable proof the vaccine works.

From the state’s first COVID-19 case on March 11 to the end of 2020, Mississippi had 215,811 confirmed cases of the virus.

So far this year, which encompasses close to the same nine-month timeframe above, MSDH has reported 252,801 cases.

At the same time, reported deaths are down this year versus last, from 4,787 in 2020 to 4,326 as of September 15, 2021.

Some have attributed that to the Delta variant being less deadly.

Atehortua said that’s not the reason.

“The explanation of the difference in between the two things is the immunization. The people that were immunized were protected,” Atehortua said. “And then we see that 98% of the people that got sick today is people that have not been vaccinated. And when you see that 85% of the people that die right now are not vaccinated, that tells you a lot.”

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