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‘We are going all out’: MSDH ramps up efforts to increase vaccination rates

(WECT)
Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 1:59 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 3:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi State Department of Health is increasing efforts to get more Mississippians vaccinated.

Friday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, and Senior Deputy and Director of Health Protection Jim Craig hosted a live stream updating the community on all things COVID-19.

State health officials say cases are trending downwards.

From May 13-26, MSDH says there were 50 COVID-19 deaths; that number dropped to 25 people from May 27-June 9.

And despite the number of variant strains of COVID-19, the vaccine has been effective, officials say.

To increase the number of people vaccinated, MSDH has several new initiatives in play, including over a dozen school systems participating in a COVID-19 testing program.

“This is a great opportunity for schools to be able to test their teachers, test their students who are not vaccinated, identify them early before transmission can occur. The testing program is another tool for us to help bridge through the summer and into the school year,” Paul Byers said.

MSDH also has lots of pop-up sites where vaccinations are available for anyone over 12 years and older. No documentation or identification is required.

The agency is also reaching out to anyone who is homebound and needs assistance getting vaccinated. You can email COIDHomebound@msdh.ms.gov or call the Mississippi COVID-19 Hotline 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 877-978-6453.

In another effort, MSDH is also partnering with county health departments to offer the vaccine and mobile testing in parking lots.

“We are going all out to make sure vaccines are available to everybody,” State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said. “You’re likely to get vaccinated or get COVID and the vaccination is a great pathway.”

Epidemiologist Paul Byers also says you can also go to vaccines.gov to find a vaccination location near you.

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