COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - It’s been nearly two weeks since Georgia Governor Brian Kemp made the COVID-19 vaccine available to anyone 16 years old and older.
After an initial rush, appointments have been on the decline for some vaccine providers. Some people who say they don’t want to be vaccinated say they don’t trust the vaccine yet.
While Alabama and Georgia are seeing people line up for one of the COVID-19 vaccines available, Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department admits there’s been a decline in those numbers.
“Just talking with people, some don’t even want to get any vaccine,” said Kirkland. “They don’t care which one it is. They don’t want to get any of them. It tends to be something that we’re seeing across our district, and it could be across the state as well. I think there’s probably a lot of information out there and a lot of misinformation out there that people are reading before making their decisions. We just want to remind people to go to a reliable source, a credible source before they go out there and make their decision.”
Jason Ritter, site coordinator at the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s (GEMA) mass vaccination site at the Columbus Civic Center, agrees that vaccine numbers are down.
“Appointment numbers for first dose are down,” he said. “Not sure if there’s vaccine hesitancy or there’s issues with our hours of operation. I do know that a lot more vaccine has saturated this area, so there are other places to get it besides here now, which we’re thankful for. We’re not here to compete with anybody, but to get shots into arms.”
The GEMA site is set up to do nearly 1,100 shots a day, but it’s averaging about 600 or 700 doses daily, according to Ritter.
One Columbus woman shared her reason for choosing not to be vaccinated and how people close to her feel about getting it.
“I just don’t feel comfortable,” said Emone Sewell. “I feel like it’s too early. I need more research. I need more understanding. It’s because they lack trust in the local government, or whether or not they want more information or more time before they decide to make that type of brash decision. Months from now, or even a year from now, will these vaccines that people are taking now even be effective moving forward? So, I would at least like for a year to go by and see how the people that I personally know have taken the vaccine, and see how they are doing.”
Ritter says to help make it easier, the site will be open a little longer Wednesday and Thursday to allow more people to come over from the fair and get their doses of the Pfizer vaccine.