Coastwide Rotary Clubs working to promote COVID-19 vaccines

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The vaccination demand is steadily dropping across the United States, and just 26% of Mississippians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but for at least one civic organization on the Coast, that’s not acceptable.

Coastwide Rotary Clubs are making a stand on COVID-19 vaccines, and they want everyone to stick with the program.

“As community leaders, as Rotary members, we’re going to tell our friends and our family this is important and we want you to get vaccinated,” said Sherri Carr Bevis, the Gulfport Rotary president-elect.

The Rotary Clubs have made vaccines their commitment this year in partnership with Singing River Health System. In fact, the effort began in April with clubs hosting first-time vaccination events, and on May 15, there will be a second round.

Bevis is seeing this from two perspectives: As a Rotary member and as SRHS’s Community Relations Liaison.

“I had Rotary members helping us at Singing River on our drive-thru events,” said Bevis. “Just because we felt like this is what’s happening in our community right now, this is what we need to serve and this is how we can help.”

And it’s especially important since enthusiasm for vaccinations has dropped down.

“The numbers are way down,” Bevis said. “Everybody feels a little freer, the mask mandate has been lifted, and people are kind of like, I think they’re letting their guard down.”

But Leighann Gonzalez of Biloxi isn’t one of them. She just received her second COVID shot, and she appreciates organizations like Rotary helping get the word out.

“Absolutely. The more, the better,” she said. “Because, it’s not just yourself that you have to think about. It’s everybody else around you.”

George Gray, who has been fully vaccinated, said with Rotary’s help along with other organizations, President Biden’s new vaccine goal can be met.

“He’s already met his goal for the 100 days,” said Gray. “I think we can surpass that. We have the ability here in the United States to do it. Whether it gets done, I don’t have the answer. But I think it will happen.”

The Rotary’s drive-thru vaccinations of the second dose of Pfizer will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. May 15 at First Baptist Church in Gautier and at Singing River Gulfport.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered as an option. For reservations, call 1-228-809-5555.

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