Global coalition launches Pine Belt campaign to boost vaccine rates

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 2:40 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A new campaign is underway to encourage South Mississippians to get COVID-19 vaccines.

It’s called “Pine Belt: This is Our Shot” and it was officially launched at the Family Y Tuesday.

Vaccination Equity Initiative (VEI) Mississippi is sponsoring that campaign.

It’s part of the international Vaccination Equity Initiative, which is a coalition of non-profit groups, healthcare organizations and technology providers working to provide vaccinations and other health services to underserved communities.

The campaign will provide information about COVID-19 and vaccines to address vaccine hesitancy.

VEI Mississippi’s steering committee members say it will be a grassroots effort.

They say a big focus will be on members of minority communities and young people.

“We know that the pandemic has affected everybody’s life. It has brought a lot of stress to all of us, we also know that we’re all personally convicted as to whether or not you want to be vaccinated or not,” said Michael Marks, chairman of the VEI Mississippi Steering Committee. “What we know is that bringing accurate information and education helps you make a better choice and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

“It is very important that we relate to our people in their communities, bring them along and to dispel any myths and any rumors that might not be true,” said Mary Hossley, chairperson of health promotions, for the Forrest County Branch of the NAACP.

VEI Mississippi is also planning at least four vaccination events in the Pine Belt over the next couple of months.

The first will be held on Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Town Square Park in Hattiesburg.

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