Virus Outbreak Mississippi

Mississippi's State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs speaks about the need for state residents who are 65 and older and those with preexisting conditions need to receive the coronavirus vaccine during Gov. Tate Reeves' press conference in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Thirty-two percent of Lauderdale County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported on Monday.

On May 18, the Department of Health reported a vaccination rate in Lauderdale County of 29%, which means that the county’s rate only increased by 3% over 27 days.

Lauderdale County’s full vaccination rate of 32% is higher than the statewide rate — 29% — but substantially lower than the national number — 44%.

At a press briefing last Friday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs estimated that about 60% of Mississippi residents have “some underlying immunity” to COVID-19 — either from being infected with the virus or from being vaccinated. Dobbs said Mississippi is likely seeing the effect of this immunity, as COVID-19 case numbers continue to decrease in the state.

“We are now sort of seeing that effect, most likely, because we have a combination of natural and vaccine-induced immunity,” Dobbs said.

Dr. Paul Byers, the state epidemiologist, said people who have already been infected with the coronavirus still need to get vaccinated.

“The best way to ensure that you have long-term and full protection is to get vaccinated,” he said.

Dobbs said there is some complacency in Mississippi about COVID-19.

“We’re seeing folks think that this is over,” he said. “It’s good that the cases are low, but we have a lot of challenges. And we will continue to see deaths, and we will continue to see cases and outbreaks. So if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, please go ahead.”

Vaccination rates for local counties

Lauderdale County: 35% of residents have received at lease one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; 32% of residents are fully vaccinated.

Kemper County: 29% have received at least one dose; 26% are fully vaccinated.

Newton County: 34% have received at least one dose; 31% are fully vaccinated.

Neshoba County: 22% have received at least one dose; 19% are fully vaccinated.

Clarke County: 34% have received at least one dose; 30% are fully vaccinated.

Places to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Lauderdale County

The state-run vaccination site that was once located outside the Lauderdale County Health Department is now located at the East Mississippi State Hospital at 5701 North Hills in Meridian. The site is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays. Appointments are not required, but optional appointments can be made at covidvaccine.umc.edu or (877) 978-6453.

The Lauderdale County Health Department is also offering vaccinations on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-3 p.m. Appointments for this site can be booked at covidvaccine.umc.edu or (877) 978-6453.

Numerous pharmacies and medical clinics are also administering COVID-19 vaccines in Lauderdale County. Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccine locations.

Homebound individuals who are interested in being vaccinated can email COVIDHomebound@msdh.ms.gov or call (877) 978-6453 to arrange a vaccination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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