GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Developing vaccines against coronavirus is only part of the problem.
The logistics of distributing the vaccine to millions is going to be a huge task, and convincing some of the population that they should get the vaccine is another.
Attitudes are shifting toward accepting the vaccine, but still, almost 40% of the population said they won’t get the shot.
In South Mississippi, medical leaders are reaching out to the community to encourage them to get a vaccine when they become available.
Dr. Wendy Williams is almost giddy with excitement about her clinic soon being able to distribute the coronavirus vaccine. The Chief Medical Officer of Coastal Family Health Center received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine today.
“This vaccine has been so long wished for and prayed for,” Williams said Tuesday. “We finally have an opportunity, we have a tool that can help us get out of this mess that we’re in, so there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel. There’s still some darkness we have to get through, but definitely, there’s hope now.”
That darkness that Williams referred to is the logistical difficulty of vaccinating millions of people, but another problem is convincing some of those people that the vaccines are safe.
“We have to really take a stand against the misinformation and really present the facts in a way that people can understand,” she said. “You know, MRNA and DNA and all these things are super scary sounding, but when you really get down to it and explain how vaccines work, and the safety and what the vaccines have gone through to get to where we are, there’s so many reasons to believe in it.”
While the public’s confidence in vaccines is growing, resolving any fears in communities where there may be language and cultural barriers will be even more important.
“We serve such a diverse population, and each population has their own concerns, and what we need to do is to reach out to those people individually and answer those questions and make them feel comfortable with this,” she said. “Some people are ready and some people aren’t quite there yet, and so it’s our job to supervise the education so that we can get people vaccinated.”
In the coming weeks, before the vaccine becomes available, Williams and her staff will be reaching out to the community they serve to answer those questions
“There is so much misinformation and just false information about the vaccine out there,” she said. “A lot of people are scared, for good reason; it’s something new.
“But we want to show the community that this is something that is important and it’s safe and we desperately need everybody to get vaccinated so that we can get through this.”