Mississippi State Medical Association Sponsors COVID Town Hall

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Doctors across the state continue to encourage Mississippians to get their COVID shots, though there are still those who believe vaccinations do more harm than good.

In a virtual COVID-19 town hall sponsored by the Mississippi State Medical Association, doctors answered questions from the public about the vaccine, the nursing shortage and mental health as we continue to deal with the pandemic.

Six doctors made up the COVID town hall panel sponsored by the Mississippi State Medical Association.(WLBT)

“The science is clear. You can believe us or not,” said Dr. Daniel Edney.

Six doctors made up the COVID town hall panel sponsored by the Mississippi State Medical Association. Dr. Daniel Edney is the Chief Medical Officer of the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Dr Edney said: “If Omicron had been as deadly as the Varian Delta, we would be facing an apocalyptic situation right now. But thank God it wasn’t.

State epidemiologist Dr Paul Byers said: “In January alone we had over 170,000 cases that were reported to the Department of Health, but the deaths weren’t as dramatic as we saw it in the Delta wave or in previous waves.”

Many of the questions put to the panel by the public centered on doubts, reservations and disbelief about the effectiveness of vaccinations. Some ask if they cause strokes and even cancer.

Dr Hursie Davis-Sullivan, who practices family medicine, said: “As a healthcare provider, it makes no sense to lie to your patient or withhold information. It’s ethically wrong and I mean it’s just not humane.

Vicksburg pediatrician Dr. Geri Weiland said, “If you’ve had a few weeks on a ventilator, your life will never be the same, even if you survive.”

According to Dr. Paul Byers, more than 170,000 COVID cases were reported to MSDH in January.
According to Dr. Paul Byers, more than 170,000 COVID cases were reported to MSDH in January.(WLBT)

Dr. Kim Hoover says that in addition to caring for patients, hospitals continue to face a severe shortage of nurses.

Dr Hoover said: ‘We were already down in the numbers, we currently have over 3,000 registered nurse vacancies in hospitals alone.

When it comes to mental health, Dr. Katherine Panell says there has been an increase in suicides, anxiety and depression during the pandemic.

Dr Pannel said: “Speaking of mental health care, depression rates, anxiety rates, substance abuse is on the rise – all because of the stressors that have come from the pandemic. So we need to keep talking about it and having the conversations needed to reduce the stigma.

There was criticism, but also praise for the medical professionals who fought on the front lines to save lives.

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