ATLANTA — As the vaccination effort against COVID-19 continues across Georgia, more doctors fear that we’ll not reach herd immunity as the number of people getting vaccinated continues to drop.
Yolanda Darnell is part of the 65% of Georgians who have yet to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m OK with wearing the mask. I’m OK with wearing the gloves. I’m just not OK with the vaccines yet,” Darnell said.
And the number of people getting vaccinated every week is dropping.
“I’m just still on the fence about it. I still have no plans to get the vaccination,” Darnell said.
Channel 2′s Matt Johnson has been digging into the numbers and found there was a 27% drop last week in the number of people in Georgia getting their first doses, one of the highest drops in the country. That’s according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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Vaccinations nationwide are declining along with COVID-19 cases. But what happens if we don’t reach herd immunity?
“We’ll be having smoldering infection. We won’t overwhelm the hospitals, but some people will get sick from it. And some people may die,” said Dr. Gary Voccio, director for Northwest Georgia Public Health.
He told Johnson they’re vaccinating half the number of people they used to.
Voccio said the health department had to cancel pop-up clinics that offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“This Janssen Johnson & Johnson vaccine stoppage, I think really hurt. But the side effects are very, very infrequent and very, very few and minimal side effects were at least from a Moderna and Pfizer vaccine,” Voccio said.
The state’s Department of Public Health told Johnson that it has increased efforts in bringing the vaccines to hard-to-reach communities.
COVID-19 cases in Georgia are down 3%, according to the latest White House report. But there is concern cases will keep fluctuating without a higher percentage of the population vaccinated.
“We are not there yet,” said Jen Kates, who studies pandemic data nationally for the Kaiser Family Foundation. “If we don’t achieve that, we could be stuck in more of a cycle of outbreaks.”