Small uptick in vaccination rate is recorded here

The number of Grady Countians stepping up to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has inched up slightly in the last week as public health officials encourage students, especially, to get the free shot over the summer.
Everyone 12 and older is now eligible to receive the vaccination, says Dr. Charles Ruis, district health director, noting that, in addition to being good for the individual, their family, and the community, being fully vaccinated has many added benefits of which he wants readers to be aware.
“Once you’re fully vaccinated, you no longer have to quarantine if exposed to someone with COVID-19,” he says. “That means less time lost in the classroom for vaccinated students and more time on the field for our area athletes.”
Individuals ages 12-17 will receive the Pfizer vaccine, while those 18 and older can choose from the two dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The two dose vaccines are scheduled about a month apart, so getting the first one soon will allow students to be fully vaccinated by the start of school, says Ruis.
He also reminds area residents that being fully vaccinated not only means not having to quarantine following COVID exposure, but also less risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID should they still contract the disease.
Vaccine breakthrough cases occur in only a small percentage of vaccinated people, according to the Centers for Disease Control. To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in the case demographics or vaccine characteristics among people with reported vaccine breakthrough infections.
An Associated Press analysis of available government data from May shows that breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 853,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations?about 0.1 percent.
“COVID-19 vaccines are effective, and people who have been fully vaccinated can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic,” says Dr. Ruis.
The COVID-19 vaccinations are free to everyone. To make an appointment, call either the Grady County Health Department at (229) 377-2992 or Archbold’s Corporate Care Center at (229) 584-SHOT or (229) 584-7468. Local pharmacies and some doctor’s offices are also offering the vaccine.
COVID-19 shots can also be scheduled online at southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.
In the last week, 80 more Grady County residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, for a total of 7,749 locals. There are 112 new Grady Countians considered fully vaccinated in the last week, according to public health information.
Grady County still lags behind statewide and neighboring county numbers. Whereas 31 percent of our county population has received one dose, statewide that number is 43 percent while Thomas County has 38 percent, Decatur County has 34 percent and Mitchell County has 33 percent of its population with one dose of the vaccine.
Those considered fully vaccinated are 29 percent of the Grady County population, 38 percent statewide, 34 percent in Thomas, and 31 percent in both Decatur and Mitchell counties.

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