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Coronavirus

Mississippi State Health Department Blocks COVID Vaccine Misinformation

JACKSON, MISS. — The Mississippi State Department of Health says the state agency is blocking comments on its Facebook posts because of a “rise of misinformation” about the coronavirus and vaccinations.

“The comments section of our Facebook page has increasingly come to be dominated by misinformation about COVID-19,” Director for the Mississippi State Department Health Office of Communications Liz Sharlot said in a statement.

Sharlot says allowing the comments that “mislead the public about the safety, importance and effectiveness of vaccination” is “directly contrary” to the state’s public health mission, which includes encouraging members of the public to be vaccinated against the virus.

The Department of Health posts multiple times each day on its Facebook page about COVID-19. Posts include information on numbers of new coronavirus cases in the state, details on pop-up vaccination clinics and transportation services to vaccination clinics for homebound residents.

Sharlot says the comments will be back when the department has “the resources to effectively curb misleading, harmful and off-topic commentary that disserves the public.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health officials announced Friday they are recommending people 65 and older and those with chronic underlying medical conditions to refrain from attending indoor mass social gatherings in coming weeks because of a rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.

Mississippi ranks among the last states for the total number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 at 31% fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health. Just over one million people in Mississippi, with a population of nearly 3 million, are fully vaccinated.

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