Sharp: Mississippi’s recent vaccine availability isn’t exactly good news


Arne Müseler /, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

As of Mar. 16, 2021, Mississippians 16 and older are eligible to receive vaccination for covid-19.

Chloe Sharp, Staff Writer

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced on Mar. 16, 2021, that all Mississippi residents above the age of 16 are now eligible to receive the covid-19 vaccine. While this is an exciting time for those of us who have been eager to get the shot since it was first approved, the early availability to everyone isn’t because of our state officials’ efficiency in vaccine distribution.

As of Mar. 31, 25% of Mississippi’s population has received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Compared to every other state in the US, that number is low. The percentage of vaccinated people in Mississippi is the third-lowest in the country, tied with Tennessee, Indiana, and Utah.

This low percentage is most likely due to people’s fear of the vaccine. Whether they’re afraid that it didn’t undergo proper testing or they think that the government is trying to chip us with it, one fact remains certain: If not enough people receive the covid-19 vaccine, the results could be detrimental.

First and foremost, if the country never reaches herd immunity, which requires enough people to receive the vaccine, it puts the people who cannot get vaccinated due to various health reasons at serious risk. However, the percentage of the population that needs to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity is unknown for this virus.

Since the vaccine has been introduced, Mississippi has already opened back up almost fully. The mask mandate in the state has been lifted, and before long, private establishments that haven’t already will lift their mask mandates as well. This means that the people who cannot be vaccinated will no longer have covid-safe options to get necessities. They will have to either live their lives on complete lockdown or run the severe risk of getting a life-threatening virus, all because people refuse to believe experts and instead choose to believe conspiracy theorists.

Another risk we run if not enough people get vaccinated is the emergence of a new strain of the virus that’s resistant to the vaccine. The virus has already mutated into different strains across the world. Luckily, none of these strains were resistant to the covid-19 vaccine, but every time the virus makes copies of itself, there’s a chance it will mutate into a strain that is vaccine-resistant. Suppose we don’t reach herd immunity before that happens. The vaccine will lose some, if not all, of its effectiveness, landing us in yet another global pandemic. More people will die.

Covid-19 vaccines are now available to all Mississippi residents over the age of 16. Skepticism over the vaccine is valid and understandable, but that’s why it’s imperative that everyone does their own research on it. The CDC website explains what the coronavirus vaccine does and has a page that explains common misconceptions about the vaccine. 

Mississippians should view the newly available coronavirus vaccine as an opportunity to do more research on it. That way, they can make an educated decision about whether or not to receive it. Trust the experts and the scientists. More people don’t need to die on account of human ignorance.