Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson has been outspoken for weeks over his disappointment in state officials apparently not taking full advantage of federal funds to help push vaccine awareness.
Thompson, who spoke in the Delta back in June, said at the time that Gov. Tate Reeves and other Mississippi leaders had brushed aside Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars geared toward spreading the word about the importance of taking COVID vaccines.
State leaders, including State Health Department Director Dr. Thomas Dobbs, have pushed back against those claims, saying the state’s relationship with FEMA has been integral in its COVID response since the spring of 2020.
Thompson joined Emmerich Newspapers’ Bryan Davis recently, who publishes The Enterprise-Tocsin in Sunflower County, and spoke again about the connection between the state’s 30-35% vaccination rate and the state’s refusal of FEMA funds.
“Unfortunately, it’s still business as usual,” Thompson said. “We have designated all 50 states as disaster eligible for 100% FEMA reimbursement. Whatever a state designs, we will pay 100% of the cost.”
Thompson said there are few strings, if any, attached to the funding.
“We didn’t say do 1-2-3, because some states are urban, some are suburban and other are rural,” Thompson said. “Our expectation is we know it’s a problem and we’ve assumed responsibility at the federal level, just like we’ve given cities and counties and states a lot of money, we’ve assumed 100% responsibility for this.”
Since our interview with Thompson, the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken hold across the state, with case numbers reaching over 1,000 daily over the past several days.
Watch the video above to hear all of Thompson’s comments on vaccination efforts in Mississippi.