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Vaccination rates low in southwest Georgia as cases increase

A study from Georgetown University pinpoints southwest Georgia as part of a COVID cluster. The Georgetown study and the southwest Georgia public health director both say vaccinations here are at a standstill.

Southwest Georgia health director Dr. Charles Ruis says the Georgetown study is correct. Vaccination rates are not high enough and it’s leading to the continued spread of COVID-19.

“Our vaccination rates are lower than we would prefer, but of course that’s true for the entire state of Georgia,” Dr. Ruis said. Dr. Ruis says only about 39% of Georgians have been fully vaccinated with about 44% receiving at least one shot.

In Seminole County, as of Wednesday, July 14, 5,254 doses of the vaccine have been administered. 2,821, or 34% of the county’s population has received at least one dose, and only  31% of the population is fully vaccinated. 

After no increase in more than a month, three new Seminole County cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the Georgia Department of Health in the last 48 hours. Since the pandemic began in March of 2020  Seminole County has recorded 761 positive cases of the virus and 18 Coronavirus related deaths.

With vaccines available throughout the Southwest Georgia region through public health agencies and pharmacies, Dr. Ruis says he doesn’t know how else to reach the community.

Some of the lowest vaccination rates are among people in their 20s.“Only about 20 to 22% of that group has had even one vaccination,” he said.

“For me being vaccinated, getting the vaccine, was a no-brainer,” said Jennifer Davis, a Southwest Gerogia resident who caught COVID-19 back in December. Davis says she’s hoping people will get the vaccine so they don’t struggle with lingering effects as she has. “I’m still going through some things with COVID, you know.  My smell and taste are still off,” she said.

Davis says the vaccine is saving lives and she says that’s reason enough for everyone to get it. “If the vaccine can help people not to have to suffer from the things that I’m having to go through, I definitely would recommend it,” Davis shared.

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