Hospitals or politicians? Mississippians faced with choosing where to get COVID-19 news

While hospital officials have urged the state's residents to get vaccinated, the state's politicians have told residents to weigh the risks of being inoculated against the risks of contracting COVID-19, Mississippi Today reported Aug. 16.

Mississippians are seeing hospitals report that their system is on the brink of failing or that parking garages are being converted to makeshift hospitals. Simultaneously, other sources, such as Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, said hospitalizations are under control and that Mississippians should remain calm and ignore "irrational folks."

He later acknowledged that hospitalizations were reaching record levels.

Lee McCall, CEO of Neshoba County General Hospital in Philadelphia, Miss., called on Mr. Reeves for assistance in an Aug. 10 tweet: "@tatereeves hospitals and healthcare workers need you to help us. Where are you? We are overwhelmed with the surge of Covid and understaffed to safely care for our patients. Our incredible staff are holding it together but we are all at our breaking point."

On Aug. 13, Mr. Reeves held a COVID-19 news conference, during which he said: "The reality is there are risks associated with taking the vaccine. There are risks associated with not taking the vaccine. ... There are potential side effects. We need to be honest with people. ... We ought to be honest about the pluses and minuses, and the people of Mississippi can make a good and the right decision." 

Thomas Dobbs, MD, state health officer, said that while Mississippi confirmed 7,500 COVID-19-related deaths, no one in the state has died from the vaccine. While COVID-19 vaccines can cause mild side effects, severe adverse reactions are rare, and the CDC states that getting vaccinated is safer than contracting COVID-19.


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