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Drive-thru vaccination site is a good example of what we can do together

In a recent interview with The Vicksburg Post, local physician and now the chief medical officer for Mississippi, Dr. Dan Edney, said while testing and contact tracing remain key tools in mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine that has become job number one.

“Getting the vaccine out is the main job right now,” Edney said. “The vaccine is our way out of this.” And, based on recent results, it would appear we are much closer to being “out of this” than at any point in this now yearlong pandemic.

As of Thursday’s report from the Mississippi State Department of Health, nearly 14,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to people who live within Warren County. That number consists of those who have received either one or both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and those who may have received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

What makes that number so remarkable is that it was not that long ago that Mayor George Flaggs Jr., Warren County Board of Supervisors President Dr. Jeff Holland and Warren County Emergency Management Agency Director John Elfer, and more, along with local medical officials, were lobbying for the state to place a drive-thru vaccination site within the county. 

Their efforts paid off and since then, you would be hard-pressed to not only find a more well-run drive-thru vaccination site in the state but one that is more connected to the community in which it serves.

At the time it was launched, the site was called the only “hybrid” drive-thru site in the state. This meant that the site was managed by the Mississippi State Department of Health, but was staffed by volunteer medical officials and community volunteers. The Mississippi National Guard has supported its mission, but it has been driven by the men and women of Warren County and supported by community members and businesses.

Lunches from local restaurants have been donated or purchased for those working the site and medical personnel — some of which have retired — have given of their personal time to make sure the site can accommodate the hundreds of appointments that are set each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

This site, which had to be fought for, has shown what is possible — this community has once again proven what is possible. 

Warren County’s rate of immunization, when compared to other neighboring counties such as Issaquena, Sharkey, Claiborne, Yazoo and Adams is far better and getting even better.

This county, led by public officials and volunteers, is again proving what those of us who are blessed to live here already know — that we are able to do great things when we all work together.