Mississippi Special Populations

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Since the COVID-19 Pandemic began, in early 2020, marginalized and vulnerable populations have been especially, adversely, impacted. NASW’s Connect to End COVID-19 initiative was launched to provide equitable training and outreach that promote informed vaccine decision-making on the part of social workers and their clients, particularly among those who are vulnerable, marginalized, and/or vaccine hesitant.

The diagram below shows the vaccine hesitancy by county in the state of Mississippi which includes estimated hesitant, estimated hesitant or unsure, and estimated strongly hesitant.


Source: Vaccine Hesitancy by county in Mississippi-Data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); data sets for estimates of vaccine hesitancy. Last accessed March 8, 2022.https://data.cdc.gov/stories/s/Vaccine-Hesitancy-for-COVID-19/cnd2-a6zw/

Mississippi Special Populations Data

There are various special populations in Mississippi with whom social workers work. The goal of NASW’s Connect to End COVID-19 initiative is to identify communities where there is a low COVID-19 vaccine uptake and to encourage social workers and their clients to engage in informed vaccine decision-making. State-specific data is provided below on vaccine hesitancy and several special populations have been identified. The special populations are noted below.

Rural communities

Many counties in Mississippi are experiencing a shortage of resources as communities deal with increasing coronavirus numbers in east and south Mississippi. This increase could likely be related to the limited bed capacity or hospital closures in rural communities. According to cumulative data from the Mississippi State Department of Health, rural non-metropolitan counties continue to show reported COVID-19 deaths in many rural counties. Other data suggest that Neshoba County, a rural area, is the lowest vaccinated county in the state.


Source: Data from CDC COVID data tracker.Last accessed February 28, 2022.https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#pop-factors_totaldeaths

Older Adults

Mississippi health officials have identified that older adults are at increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. Also, people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions are impacted by the virus. By using certain interventions to prevent the spread and impact of significant transmission, older adults must avoid certain places such as church groups, funeral gatherings, and workplaces such as long-term care facilities. This COVID-19 chart has data on cases and death of different age groups. Significant data below indicate that older adults were affected by the coronavirus and/or death by the virus.


Source: Data from Mississippi State Department of Health. Last accessed March 1, 2022. https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420,873.html#cases

Racial and Ethnic Minorities

New discussions about public health concerning different racial and ethnic minority groups emerged during the height of the pandemic. The racial and ethnic groups include people of color with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. This group of individuals also includes Hispanic and Native American people.

Data from the local health department, currently, is limited on these ethnic groups; however, this may be due to language/literacy challenges, limited transportation, or fear of immigration-related consequences. Since the pandemic began, Mississippi vaccine uptake for Black Mississippians has improved and is reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health to be higher than the national average due to the Department of Health outreach efforts. While there has been an uptake in vaccines for Black Mississippians, it is the belief that it is necessary that we continue to target this population to help promote increased vaccine uptake.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Mississippi State Department of Health.


Mississippi State Department of Health
Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (7 days a week, 7 am-7 pm (CST): 877-978-6453

CDC – Vaccinate with Confidence: Strategy to Reinforce Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines

NASW – Helping People in Special Populations During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Connect to end COVID-19, overlapping speech bubbles, social workers support informed vaccine decision making

Join NASW’s national Connect to End COVID-19 effort, a CDC-funded initiative to support social workers and their clients in informed vaccine decision-making. Free webinars and CEUs available.

Learn about Connect to End COVID-19

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