ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Georgia’s Public Health Department is now focusing its efforts on people who may be on the fence about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
While new infections in the state continue to decline, the state health department has created a health equity council to address vaccine hesitancy in communities of color and rural areas.
Doctors hope that the CDC’s guidelines for fully vaccinated people will serve as some sort of incentive for others to get the vaccine.
Dr. Robert Bendarczyk, Assistant professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory University said, “This updated the guidance that fully vaccinated can resume activities without a mask and without physical distancing may help people get vaccinated because now they can do things without wearing masks”
In Georgia, 3 out of 10 people are fully vaccinated, and nearly 40-percent of the population has received at least one dose.
“We have 65% people of eligible Georgians still not fully vaccinated. This offers a potential for new outbreaks as more people come together in different settings,” said Dr. Bendarczyk.
The state health department wants to bring the dose to people, especially those in rural areas and those who are homebound.
Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said, “Be able to reach out to the elderly, who may not be able to use the internet, or drive them to a site if possible.”
Dr. Bednarczyk said, “We have done special clinics for developmental disabled adults who may get anxious at mass vaccination sites. Some of these new programs may have benefits for those who are intending to but haven’t gotten out. These programs can give them the nudge to get vaccinated.”
Health experts say just because the CDC has eased guidelines for fully vaccinated people, don’t toss out the mask at all places, and to still wear it in crowded areas or indoor spaces, because nearly two thirds of Americans are still not vaccinated.