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Mississippi’s vaccination rates lowest in country- but case numbers remain low

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 7:58 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi has the worst vaccination rate in the nation. But the case numbers have remained relatively low.

Governor Tate Reeves commented on CNN’s State of the Union regarding the state having the lowest vaccination rate in the country.

“Many people believe that somewhere between 4 and 5 times more people that have gotten the virus, that have not tested have gotten the virus,” said Reeves. “And so, we’ve got somewhere between a million or so that have natural immunity. Because of that there is very, very little virus in our state.”

Dr. Dobbs echoing some of that when replying to a question on twitter saying, ”A high proportion on MS residents have already had the virus. Our overall immunity levels are higher than many states with better vaccination rates. And we have done a pretty good job vaccinating the most vulnerable.”

Dobbs still, though, encouraging Mississippians to receive the vaccine.

But let’s look at the numbers.

The latest CDC data is for up to mid-April and it doesn’t suggest the percentage is nearly as high as the Governor referenced. It suggests there may be closer to 2.5 times higher the number of folks that had COVID compared to the reported cases; 27.7 percent of the state carrying some type of immunity.

“We know that taking the vaccine will boost that immunity,” said Mississippi State Medical Association President, Dr. Mark Horne.

Horne says there are unknowns about the fullness of immunity post-infection but not about the vaccine’s protection which may be especially important as variants continue to spread.

“The vaccines we know are quite effective against each of those,” explained Horne about the variants. “What we don’t know is if you got infected nine months ago with the wild variant, that you aren’t more susceptible to getting infected with one of these new variants.”

Horne advises people can receive the vaccine as soon as they’ve recovered from the virus.

“The vaccine always wins,” Horne noted. “If you were at the casinos in Mississippi and you were putting your money, making a bet. You’d bet on the vaccine. It’s the smart money.”

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