Mississippi Edition

Share

4/14/21 - J&J Vaccine Pause | Your Vote, Your Voice: Part Three | Supreme Court Hears Initiative 65 Case

Health officials call for a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following a change in CDC guidelines.

Then, in the third installment of Your Vote, Your Voice, we examine both past and existing barriers to ballot.

Plus, the fate of medical marijuana possible hangs in the balance as the Mississippi Supreme Court hears oral arguments challenging the legitimacy of Initiative 65.

Segment 1:

Mississippi vaccine providers are pausing Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccinations in the state while the CDC investigates siz related cases of blood clots. No cases of the rare blood clot associated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have been identified in Mississippi. But health officials in say they are erring on the side of caution until the CDC has finished it's investigation. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the risk of someone getting this type of blood clot from the J&J vaccine is extremely rare. Around 53,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine are at clinics, pharmacies and hospitals across Mississippi. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says those doses will likely not go to waste in that time.

Segment 2:

Throughout American history, access to the ballot has been a dynamically controversial issue. When the nation was founded, voting was limited to white landowners. Efforts to expand the right to vote over the centuries were often met with resistance. And even after the 15th, 19th and 26th amendment removed federal restrictions based race, color, previous condition of servitude and sex - and reduced the legal age to 18 - many communities still face barriers to voting.

Aside from voting rights secured through constitutional amendments, the federal government currently exhibits little power over elections. The power to manage and administer elections belongs to the states, and it is where some barriers can still be found. We examine the history of voting laws and practices designed to create roadblocks to the ballot with Christy Wheeler, co-President of the Mississippi League of Women Voters and Pauline Rogers of the RECH Foundation.

Segment 3:

Mississippi Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments today challenging signature collections for Initiative 65. The constitutional amendment - approved by over 70 percent of Mississippi voters last November - makes medical marijuana legal in the state. But the mayor of the City of Madison is challenging the initiative, claiming signature collections for the ballot referendum are unconstitutional. The Mississippi constitution requires an equal number of signatures from five congressional districts.  The state lost a seat after the 2000 Census, but the constitution hasn’t been updated to four districts to change the process. Ken Newburger is with the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association. He says signatures gathered during the initiative process were legitimate. 


More Episodes

5/14/2021

5/14/21 - Adolescents Get Vaccinated | Freedom Rides, 60 Years Later | 1970 JSU Class Finally Walks

Mississippi’s first 12 to 15 year olds get the Pfizer shot after authorization from the CDC and FDA.Then, 60 years after the Freedom Rides, participants reflect on the meaning of their fight for civil rights.Plus, members of Jackson State’s 1970 graduating class get a ceremony - 51 years after the deadly shootings of Phillip Gibbs and James Green.Segment 1:Young teens in Mississippi are getting their first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine that was recently approved for use in the ages of 12-15.The new authorizations means more than 160 thousand adolescents in Mississippi can get vaccinated.At the University of Mississippi Medical Center, 14 year old Clinton resident Rosemary Williamson is getting her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.With her mother Amy by her side, she tells our Kobee Vance why she decided to get her first dose on the first day.Segment 2:This month marks the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, when young civil rights activists rode buses into the south, challenging segregation in busing and public facilities. As they made the journey from the nation’s capital to the Deep South, they were taunted and beaten by white mobs – and jailed. A few of the buses were even bombed. Janae Pierre, from our partner station WBHM, talked to participants of the movement about what their fight means decades later.Segment 3:James "Lap" Baker was supposed to ceremoniously receive his degree from Jackson State College in 1970.But on May 15th of that year,a police involved shooting brought the spring semester to an abrupt end and postponed graduation.Two African-American men were killed and at least a dozen other people were injured.Baker and over 70 of his classmates will march in their caps and gowns for the first time in a special ceremony at the Green-Gibbs Plaza on the campus of JSU.The site is named after the two young men killed by gunfire from the Mississippi Highway Patrol: Phillip Gibbs,a 21 year-old junior pre-law major and married father of an 18-month-old son and a second unborn child; and James Earl Green, 17, a senior at Jim Hill High School, who was killed while observing the chaos. Baker, an eyewitness, remembers crawling through the grass to get to safety that night.He tells our Ashley Norwood the incident forever changed him.The ceremony for the 1970 class also includes the awarding of honorary doctorates to the late Phillip Gibbs and James Green.Nerene Wray, Phillip Gibbs' sister, will be at the site named after her brother to receive the posthumous honor.She says she appreciates that university and the community still remember Phillip.
5/13/2021

5/13/21 - New Adolescent Group Now Vaccine-eligible | Hesitancy in Rural MS | ACA Special Enrollment

A leading pediatrician responds to the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds.Then, with vaccination rates declining statewide, we examine hesitancy in a rural, majority white community.Plus, we hear from the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health on the special enrollment period for health coverage though the ACA marketplace.Segment 1:Parents in Mississippi can begin scheduling a coronavirus vaccination for children age 12 to 15.The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has received emergency use authorization from the FDA, and has now gained approval by the CDC for use in the adolescent age group.The decision comes at a time of declining vaccination rates in Mississippi.Health officials say around a quarter of the state's nearly three million residents are under the age of 16.Dr. Anita Henderson is President of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She tells our Kobee Vance the authorization means clinics and hospitals already offering the Pfizer shot can begin vaccinating eligible children now.Segment 2:Mississippi, along with Louisiana and Alabama, have the lowest coronavirus vaccination rates in the country. That’s according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Gulf States Newsroom health reporter Shalina Chatlani has been following this story and traveled to North Mississippi to ask people why they were against the shot. She’s joining me today to talk about some of those conversations.Segment 3:The White House is celebrating a public health milestone this week.New enrollment for health coverage during a special period made possible through President Biden's American Rescue Plan has topped one million Americans.The legislation also lowered premiums for nine million Americans who buy their coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and also reduced deductibles by nearly 90 percent.Dr. Rachel Levine is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health.She tells our Michael Guidry the special enrollment period is one step in the administration's goal of making health care a right - not a privilege.