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Gulfport city leaders work to get more people vaccinated

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 5:32 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - More than 125,000 people in the six southernmost counties are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. That’s only a little more than 25% of the total population. Some Gulfport city leaders are working to get more people vaccinated in their communities.

“I can’t understand why the fall-off is happening now,” Gulfport councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines.

As people aim to get back to normal, city and health leaders have noticed a lot fewer shots going into arms. The main question is why?

“Maybe because when we decided to open up the area people have that false sense of security that it’s safe, but it is not,” Holmes-Hines said. “If you’re not vaccinated, you’re not safe.”

Holmes-Hines and other city leaders have partnered with Memorial Hospital, bringing the COVID-19 vaccines into Gulfport neighborhoods.

“For them moving out into the communities, they are eliminating the disparities,” said Gulfport Civitan president Gailyn Williams-Hockenhull.

Children as young as 12 and teens can get the Pfizer vaccine. Jontrel Hope is 16 years old and no longer wanted to take the risk of getting sick.

“At first I was kind of skeptical about it because of all the rumors and funny jokes, but at the end of the day I know it’s something serious and I felt like it could help me not risk my life,” Hope said.

Mississippi State Department of Health reports 946,229 people are fully vaccinated across the state. While that number may sound large, the state is ranked last in the country in vaccination rates.

“I don’t know how Mississippi has gotten into with Alabama, Louisiana that they are so far behind the curve,” Hines said.

To get more people to vaccine sites, Hines said it’s going to take more community involvement.

“Let’s get it done,” Hines said.

Memorial Hospital administered vaccines at Katie Patterson Booth Community Center and will be back on July 7.

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