The Latest: Mississippi to reduce gaps in vaccine access


Craig Rawls, an Army National Guardsman, right, speaks with his wife Chris Rawls, with only a face mask as a protective garment at the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Collins, Miss., as part of Operation “Family Reunion,” Thursday, April 1, 2021. Due to the relaxation of protocols designed to slow the spread of coronavirus, the veterans home allowed indoor, in-person visits between veterans and two family members without the use of PPE for the first time since March of 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. — An office within the Mississippi State Department of Health that works to reduce gaps in access to health care is looking for organizations to host coronavirus vaccination events.

The Office of Health Equity is partnering with Federally Qualified Health Centers to increase vaccination efforts around the state. The focus of these events will be on Hispanic, Black, Vietnamese residents and people who live in rural areas. These partners can be cities, community organizations and businesses.

The partners will help identify individuals who need vaccinations, and the health department will schedule the event.

“What we need now are new local partners to help us bring vaccinations into communities that have not had the access that other Mississippians have had so far,” said Director of the Office of Health Equity Dr. Chigozie Udemgba.

As of Friday, 61% of all vaccinations against the coronavirus in Mississippi had been given to white residents, according to data provided by the state Department of Health. Just over 30% of vaccinations have been given to Black residents and 2% to Asian residents.

Mississippi has the highest population of African American residents at just under 40%.

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