The City of Corinth and some concerned residents are hoping to light a fire under the local vaccination effort.

Several came together at City Hall Thursday morning to discuss organizing COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the community.

“If you look at the vaccination percentages of Corinth and Alcorn County, the numbers are low,” said Mayor Tommy Irwin. “We want to encourage our citizens to get this protection so we can avoid breakout infections and move further toward normal life. The vaccination being made eligible to youth as young as 12 is a game-changer. We want to help continue the efforts to educate our people and ultimately result in their getting vaccinated.”

Joining the discussion were Sandy Williams, Rebecca Spence, Ward 4 Alderman J.C. Hill and Kim Ratliff, the city’s projects coordinator.

The city is looking at organizing some vaccination events at the properties of Corinth Housing Authority and the Tennessee Valley Regional Housing Authority with the aim of reaching groups that may be less likely to have sought the vaccine.

Williams and Spence discussed offering an incentive to get the vaccine, such as a gift card or an entry into a drawing for cash. The group also wants to get people involved who can be positive influencers to help convince reluctant people to get the shot.

Convincing the unvaccinated to roll up their sleeves is seen as one of the biggest challenges.

Spence said her concern is, “How do we make them still see the need to be vaccinated? Things are opening back up and looking like normal.”

Alcorn County is at 23 percent fully vaccinated, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health, while the state is at 28 percent and the U.S. is at 40 percent. In Alcorn County, 26 percent of the population has received at least one dose.

COVID-19 continues to affect the community. As of Thursday afternoon, Magnolia Regional Health Center reported seven patients currently hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19. For the week of May 9 to 15, the county had nine new cases via suspected community transmission, down from 16 the prior week, and the test positivity rate was 4.8 percent for the period of April 28 to May 11. MSDH recently reported two Alcorn County deaths that occurred between April 30 and May 14.

As of May 21, 554 COVID-19 variant cases had been reported in Mississippi, most of which are the U.K. variant. Outside of long-term care settings, the MSDH has also identified three cases of the Indian origin variant in Claiborne, Smith and Hinds counties.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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