Gov. Kemp goes to South Georgia to get COVID-19 vaccine, urges people there to do the same

WAYCROSS, Ga. — Just a day after Georgia expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older, Gov. Brian Kemp rolled up his sleeve.

Channel 2 Action News was the only Atlanta TV station with Kemp and his youngest daughter as they received their shots at the Ware County Health Department in Waycross.

Kemp got the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Because the vaccination numbers south of Macon are pretty grim, the governor took his team there to try and urge people to get a shot, saying he’ll reduce how many shots they’ll get if not.

“That was all there was to it? That was great,” Kemp said after receiving the shot. “Feels great. Go get the vaccine.”

New stats show only about a third of residents across South Georiga have received it.

Waycross’ mayor, Michael-Angelo James, joined the governor as they toured a mass vaccination site.

He told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that they were serving only about 40 or 50 people a day at the mass vaccination site there, though those numbers are now up.

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“When people are hesitant, it’s because of lack of education as well. And many of them have been educated recently, so that’s been helpful,” James said.

Even so, the governor said he will shift the allotment of vaccines so that 70% of next week’s doses will go to North Georgia and metro Atlanta, and it will stay that way until he sees more people south of Macon lining up to get shots.

He also said they’ll start shutting down mass vaccination sites like the one in Waycross if the lines don’t start to pick up and could try other methods to get shots in arms.

“Dr. (Kathleen) Toomey and I talked about this. We’ll scale back these mass sites if people aren’t using them. We’ll send doses to other places or we’ll give them to other local partners,” Kemp said.

The governor told Elliot they’re taking a long look at the current COVID-19 restrictions as well. He said he’ll soon announce rolling some of them back starting April 1.