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Neighbor 2 Neighbor Project in Cuthbert gains national attention

A rural county in Georgia is in the national spotlight from CNN and Atlanta Journal Constitution. A few people in Randolph County wanted to make sure their community got vaccinated, so they took a neighborly approach to getting shots into arms.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 11:09 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Neighbor 2 Neighbor Project has been going around door to door registering people for their COVID vaccine since February.

Since they started, they’ve gained national attention from media outlets like CNN, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Nurse Joyce Barlow and the Randolph County Democratic Committee saw a need in their area, when the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to the rural Georgia County.

As a result, the Neighbor 2 Neighbor Project was born. While following the guidance of the peach state and the CDC as far as who can get the shot and when, the nonpartisan effort to get people in Randolph County and surrounding areas vaccinated began. It started with going door to door to help seniors, and then continued to everyone else.

“This was one of the areas that was hit real hard by COVID,”, said Democratic Committee Chairman, Bobby Jenkins. “In April and May, we had two vaccination clinics,” he added.

According to Jenkins, over 170 shots were put into arms at those clinics, and they took a literal approach to ‘taking it to the people’, by making house calls for elderly people, or those who didn’t have access to transportation, like Betty Tarver and her mother.

“They would go to your home and give it to them. That was very nice.”, said Tarver. “Miss Joyce Barlow came by and she gave her the shot, and she was very nice, and she talked to her, and explained what she was doing,” she continued.

According to Nurse Joyce Barlow, they saw a need in their community to debunk COVID-19 myths that may have caused vaccine hesitancy. Also, with Randolph County being a rural county, some people may not have access to phone or internet services.

“We knew that because of the numbers, the difficulties and challenges of navigating an internet system, navigating a telephone system where you’ve got to go through numerous buttons and punch this code in,”explained Barlow. “The people would give up and not pursue getting vaccinated. We put together a joint effort of people who wanted to save this community.”

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