Booster shots encouraged as Omicron variant surges in Pine Belt

Hattiesburg will be hosting a free vaccine booster clinic at CE Roy community center on Jan. 22
Hattiesburg will be hosting a free vaccine booster clinic at CE Roy community center on Jan. 22(WDAM Staff)
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 7:28 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - The Pine Belt, like other communities, is feeling the strain of the rise of the new variant cases.

With the large surge of the Omicron variant, health officials like Dr. Mark Horne from South Central Regional Medical Center are encouraging people more than ever to get their booster shots.

“When people who are vaccinated and if they are eligible have had a booster, their cases of Omicron and dramatically less severe. And we are rarely seeing those people be hospitalized,” said Horne.

Horne says hospitals and health care workers are feeling stressed with the shortage of supplies such as hospital beds, but there is a way for people to help.

“Get vaccinated, avoid large, congregated settings if you can, wear a mask if you need to, get a booster if you’re eligible. Those things reduce the amount of stress on the health care system,” said Horne.

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker says a big part of fighting COVID is personal responsibility, so he hopes the community will come together to fight the rise in cases.

“When you start getting 100, 150 new cases every day eventually that translates to higher hospitalizations. While we aren’t seeing the exponential growth we saw during the Delta variant, we are still seeing 80 or 90 people in the hospital, as of today with about 20 in the ICU. The best way people in our community can help protect themselves from serious illness is to get the vaccine but also to get their booster shot,” said Barker.

For those who are interested and eligible in getting a booster shot, there will be a free vaccine booster clinic on Saturday, Jan. 22 at the C.E. Roy Community Center.

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