Washington County and other rural counties in Georgia see shortage of COVID-19 vaccine

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, GA (WJBF) – The North Central Health District is experiencing vaccine shortages throughout their 13 county district made up of mostly rural communities.

District leaders said the expansion of Phase 1A to include those who are 65 and older created a demand for the vaccine that is now greater than their available supply.

“We don’t know when we’re going to be able to expand our appointments again, simply because we have not received any additional supply since earlier this week and even then that supply was minimal,” North Central Health District spokesperson Michael Hokanson said.

As a result health departments like Washington County are running out of the vaccine and patients are left waiting for another shipment.

“I think its going to be devastating to a lot of people. People are already in fear and a lot of people are scared to leave their homes and they have no idea what to do at this point and they are counting on that vaccine,” Washington County resident Latasha White said.

For people like Latasha White it means her 75 year old grandfather who was hospitalized with COVID-19 in November will now have to wait longer or drive up to an hour away to get the vaccine.

“A lot of people were already concerned that they weren’t going to have enough vaccines so now that we’re getting them and we’re already running out that’s concerning,” White said.

Hockanson is hopeful the next shipment will better serve the need.

“We have a community that’s definitely been hit hard by COVID. We’re looking at places like Hancock County that early on in the pandemic and even up to recently have been hit extremely hard by COVID-19, so there’s definitely a lot of demand in our community,” Hockanson said.

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