Edney: 96% of physicians vaccinated for COVID and Mississippians should be, too

Published 4:46 pm Friday, July 23, 2021

It has only been a few months since the state saw the deadliest month for COVID-19, when more than 1,000 Mississippians died due to the virus — the “killing times,” as Mississippi Department of Health Chief Medical Officer and local physician Daniel Edney described January 2021.   

As the vaccine became more widely distributed, first to those ages 75 and older and for those with chronic medical conditions, and then to the general public, the numbers began to drop.  

Hospitals began seeing a decrease in the number of coronavirus patients, ICU units were no longer overflowing and COVID restrictions and mandates began to lift.   

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And when the vaccines could be distributed to those 12 and older, COVID-19 was beginning to seem like a distant memory and hopes were that Mississippians would never have to live through “killing times” again.  

Unfortunately, with the Delta variant spreading across the country at an alarming rate, it appears COVID-19 is rearing its ugly head.   

And to prevent any more “killing times,” state officials say it is imperative that people get vaccinated.   

“The vast majority of our cases, hospitalization and deaths are in the unvaccinated,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said. “Ninety-three percent of our cases over the past month are unvaccinated and 83 percent of our deaths in the past month are unvaccinated.”  

Getting vaccinated, Dobbs said, is Mississippi’s way out of this.  

But there are some that are still just “sitting on the fence,” Edney said, because they are confused.  

The Coronavirus Vaccine   

“They are just hearing so many things. They are hearing from doctors it is safe and effective and they are hearing from Facebook practitioners it’s going to kill us all,” Edney said. “We have heard it all from the microchip insertion to the depopulation plan using the vaccine to magnetizing people, and so (has the public).”  

But the reality is, the vaccine is administered for protection against the virus and this protection is safe

“People need to hear the science and hear the fact that 96 percent of America’s physicians have voluntarily chosen to be vaccinated. This is a powerful statistic,” Edney said.   

The myth about the COVID vaccine preventing a woman from becoming pregnant is just that — a myth.

“Don’t depend on the COVID vaccine for contraception,” Edney said, “Because it won’t work. 

“The COVID vaccine does not affect fertility one bit.”   

However, the vaccine can save a pregnant woman’s life.  

“The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecology have thoroughly looked at the data and have said what they see is that a woman at the third stage of pregnancy that gets COVID can have devastating catastrophic results,” Edney said, prior to citing several instances in Mississippi where babies had to be taken quickly from their dying mothers.   

Another falsehood Edney said some believe is that because the vaccine was “fast-tracked,” it isn’t as safe as other medications approved by the FDA.  

This is just not true, Edney said.  

“There were no shortcuts. There was elimination of red tape. The government bureaucracy was taken out of the way so there could be a more efficient and rapid process. But all the safety steps had to be in place to achieve an emergency use authorization (EUA),” he said.  

“The EUA process is very powerful and is used sparingly,” Edney said, which is when lives can be saved.  

And the only difference between what has been done in the past with an EUA and what was done with the COVID vaccine is merely the added layer of review.  

“What’s never been done before is for a vaccine to be this rigorously studied and evaluated and scrutinized,” Edney said.   

With the billions of doses administered worldwide, everything the public hears as to side effects is because the data is scrutinized so thoroughly, he said.  

“That’s why we are picking up these very faint signals (as it pertains to side effects),” he said, whereas in the normal scope of things, these signals may not be detected for a year or more.    

The Delta Variant  

“Thankfully, the Delta variant is not more aggressive, Edney said, but is more contagious, which is causing it to spread faster.  

 In Warren County alone in a two-week period, from June 29 to July 12, 84 new cases of COVID-19 were reported. This ranked the county with the highest in the state over a two-week period.   

While the Delta variant’s symptoms are no different from the other variants, the fear, Edney said, is that over time, if allowed to continue to mutate, this could change.  

“Just in a year, we have already gotten to this mutation, so we are four mutations in, each one getting a little more difficult to deal with,” he said.  

There are more breakthrough cases each time the virus mutates, Edney said, but thankfully, the vaccine has held up and protected most from contracting a severe case.  

“Of the deaths recorded to us, all of the deaths are in vaccinated people are 65 and older and even though the vaccine is highly effective and very safe, they are somewhat at a higher risk, especially those who have chronic underlying medical conditions,” Edney said.   

The Mississippi State Department of Health is also urging those 65 and older and those who have chronic medical conditions, to avoid large gatherings and wear masks when in crowds.  

“And use common sense,” Dobbs said.  

In addition to being vaccinated, for those who do contract the virus and exhibit symptoms, Edney said, monoclonal antibody therapies are available at Medical Associates in Vicksburg.    

“This is the only first line of treatment for outpatients,” Edney said, adding these therapies can also be used for those who were vaccinated and still get coronavirus.   

 One last plea 

For anyone hesitant about the COVID vaccine, Edney suggested talking with a health care provider. 

“We know the number one individual is the person’s personal physician or provider, and we need these conversations to be held at the time of office visits and we need you to call and talk to your physician,” Edney said. 

COVID is killing folks and we know how to prevent people from dying and we aren’t doing it,” Dobbs said. “We don’t have near enough folks taking the vaccine and that is driving the numbers up, and the thing we have said before and I really do think it is true now that we are going through the Delta variant is that you are either going to get the vaccine or COVID.”

Vaccines are free and widely available. Visit www.vaccine.gov to find where and what type of vaccines are provided. 

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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