As COVID-19 continues to ravage the nation and impact the health of the community, Magnolia Regional Health Center (MRHC) presses on, vigilantly vaccinating all qualified individuals that meet the provided criteria.
The true impact and measurement of success will only show when all community members, regardless of race or ethnic background, receive the vaccination.
Since December, the moving pieces that accompany the COVID vaccination process have been greeted head on by members of the COVID-19 task force and vaccination committee. As new opportunities and challenges present themselves, the team at MRHC stands ready to combat the virus in the only fashion it knows how … efficiently and effectively. Since the start of the vaccination process, members of the team at MRHC have worked tirelessly to ensure the process was as easy and convenient for all involved, including community members receiving the vaccination and staff administering the doses. Many have complimented the efficient process MRHC has in place, and all members of the community have been provided an opportunity to receive the vaccination when they are ready.
One thing that has remained top of mind for the staff at MRHC is that some racial and ethnic minority groups are affected by COVID-19 because of differing reasons. Because of these disproportionate elements, MRHC has dedicated tremendous resources to ensure the minority communities in Corinth, Alcorn County and surrounding region are contacted and understand the availability of the vaccines.
“The process has been outstanding, and MRHC has done a really good job at getting people in and out,” said Steve Hill, Unit Director of Boys and Girls Club of Corinth and member of City Road Temple C.M.E. Church. “Normalcy doesn’t happen without these vaccines, so it is important that we all get this vaccine as soon as possible.”
Hill has been a leader in the community for years and was asked by MRHC to help communicate the vaccine process and effectiveness to fellow community members.
“I was glad to help when MRHC contacted me,” added Hill. “I was asked to help and more than glad to do it.”
Hill continued, “You have to trust the science and talk to your healthcare provider. This vaccination may help prevent other complications as well.”
“Since the beginning of the COVID vaccination process, our team has worked incredibly hard to make sure we are vaccinating anyone that falls within the provided guidelines,” said Jim Hobson, chief executive officer at MRHC. “I’m proud of our team’s effort and confident that we have successfully communicated the importance of the vaccination to our entire community.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. There is increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Inequities in the social determinants of health, such as poverty and healthcare access, affecting these groups are interrelated and influence a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.
“Many people, especially people of color, have concerns and fears about taking the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Ann Walker, retired nurse at MRHC and long-time community leader. “Understandably, there is mistrust of the medical community and its history of mistreatment of people of color coupled with the fact that this is a brand new vaccine. Many people have decided not to take the vaccine or taken a position of “I’ll wait and see the affect it has on others.”
Initially, Walker was a part of the “wait and see” group. However, after considering the disproportionate rate in which blacks are affected and dying from the virus, she changed her position and received the vaccine to decrease her risk.
Walker added, “Like any new medication, one must consider the risks and the benefits. After some personal research and much prayer, I decided that the benefits far outweighed the risks.”
Walker continued, “I have taken both doses with very little negative effects. Whether or not to take the vaccine is a personal decision, but as a nurse and member of the medical community, I encourage you to make your decision from a position of science and faith rather than from a position of fear.”
“Continuing to work together as a community is the only way we are going to beat this pandemic,” Hobson added. “We have to continue to work hard to make sure that our family, friends and neighbors, regardless of race or cultural background, have the help they need to positively impact their health.”
“As a former employee and department director for MRHC, I am proud of the work that the Covid- 19 vaccine team is doing in reaching out to the community and making sure as many people receive the vaccine as doses that are available,” said Walker.