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Mississippi state senator speaks about his decision to get vaccinated

. Joel Carter, who is the principal broker for J. Carter and Company real estate and...
. Joel Carter, who is the principal broker for J. Carter and Company real estate and development, has lived in south Mississippi his whole life, says he has salt water in his blood.(Image Source: WLOX News)
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 5:30 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi remains last in the nation in terms of COVID-19 vaccination rate. The state’s population is 35% fully vaccinated against the virus, even after a surge in people taking the shot from late July and into August.

One of those Mississippians is State Sen. Joel Carter of the 49th District, who made a snap decision to get the shot at Walmart Thursday morning.

“I’ve been pretty anti-vaccine, to be honest with you, for a long time,” Carter said. “I’ve had serious reservations about it, something that has been pushed out so quickly.”

The state senator kept up that mentality for most of the pandemic, even after he caught the virus last year. However, a busy travel schedule in the middle of the delta variant spike made him rethink his position.

“I didn’t want to come back from a conference, be infected, bring it home or bring it to the office,” he said. “I didn’t feel like that was fair.”

Carter did what a lot more people are doing nowadays, relying on the experts with COVID-19 information.

“I just felt like it was the right decision for me after talking to my doctors,” he said.

After opinions from two physicians, the state senator decided to get his first shot of the Moderna vaccine last week and announced it on social media after he had mild but expected symptoms.

“On Friday I had some muscle aches, but it wasn’t anything Tylenol couldn’t take care of,” he said.

Carter said his initial struggle with the vaccine was the limited information about long-term side effects.

Nevertheless, with ICU beds filling up and COVID-19 deaths on the rise throughout Mississippi, he said the data showed the outcome for vaccinated people who get the virus is much better.

“It’s got to make you worry. It’s got to make you think about your decision if you haven’t been vaccinated,” he said.

Now, he’s encouraging others to do what he did.

“Talk to your physician. Ask them about the vaccine. Make a good, informed decision,” he said.

Carter hopes to document his experience with the vaccine more in-depth on his social media after he gets his second dose of Moderna.

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