Atlanta, GA (WJBF)- Georgia can count 7 counties in a “top 20” danger zone for the delta variant in a new report by a national health non-profit organization.
The study found a link between low income levels showing higher infection rates, especially in rural areas where vaccination rates are low.
State health leaders say unvaccinated people are at greatest risk for Covid19 infections and are seeing more younger people contract the virus.
“If you are fully vaccinated you are protected fairly effectively with the Delta variant, maybe 80%. You can still get infected but if you do like a bad cold but not get very sick and do ok,” said Dr. Carlos Del Rio Infectious Disease Expert, Emory University.
That’s why the state’s health equity council is working with community and faith based organizations to educate Georgians about the vaccine’s benefits.
“It is pretty clear on those who are most at risk and that’s those who are unvaccinated. The data is clear that individuals who are vaccinated have remote problems of getting infected,” said Dr. Cecil Bennett Newnan Family Medicine, Atlanta Doctor.
Health experts say vaccine hesitancy is still low in communities of color and in rural areas, with six out of ten Georgians still not vaccinated.
“Mask yourself if you are not vaccinated and that became impossible indoors and I am worried we will see transmission indoors,” said Dr. Rio.
“We know that the Delta variant is more contagious than the typical Covid virus and so those who are unvaccinated are at much greater risk for not only getting it but also being hospitalized as well,” said Dr. Bennett.
“My advice is what happens oh how the population does and how good we do in vaccinating people,” said Dr. Rio.
For those who are home bound, Georgia’s department of health has referred nearly 4-thousand doses for at home vaccinations to local health clinics and are setting up mobile vaccine stations in hard to reach areas.
The state is allocating vaccines to doctors to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine, but can only provide small supplies because of storage limitations.
The State Health Department says Georgia has 204 cases of the Delta variant but that number is likely much higher because of lower testing results.
“People who are unvaccinated are at most risk for COVID, and the delta variant. The bottom line is we have a vaccine that prevents people from getting sick or for those who are vaccinated and do get sick, the illness is less severe and less likely to result in hospitalization or death. Whether it’s COVID, the flu or any number of other infectious diseases, the elderly, young children and people who are immunocompromised are always at greatest risk for serious illness and severe complications.”Nancy Nydam, Department of Health