Clarke County vaccination rates have continued to tick up at a steady pace in recent weeks. From June 4 through June 25, there were 12,687 doses administered to county residents, with 6,671 fully vaccinated residents and 6,016 residents receiving at least one dose added to the Georgia Department of Public Health vaccination data.
To date, 37 percent of Clarke County residents have been fully vaccinated and 41 percent have received at least one dose, up from 32 percent and 36 percent, respectively, three weeks ago. Statewide, 3,864,960 or 37 percent of residents have been fully vaccinated.
The local department of public health issued a press release last week detailing just how this progress is being made. As mass vaccinations have slowed, public health vaccination resources have shifted to more targeted efforts to get those who are reluctant or have had less access through mobile vaccination clinics.
In February, the district began mobile vaccination operations in Athens-Clarke County through an ongoing partnership with Dr. Suzanne Lester and the AU/UGA Medical Partnership’s Athens Free Clinic, a mobile clinic that provides primary care to the medically underserved. The mobile clinic was previously used to provide Covid-19 testing in the community, but transitioned to providing vaccinations to Clarke County residents and the Clarke County School District with the help of medical students and nurses
Thanks to a grant from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund in April, through the Athens Area Community Foundation in partnership with United Way of Northeast Georgia, the 10-county Northeast Health District has had two additional operational mobile units that serve the district Monday through Friday, with one unit available on Saturdays.
“Over 1,400 COVID-19 vaccinations have been provided through mobile outreach in the district, with over 55% of those shots going to individuals who identify as Black/African American or Hispanic—a step in the right direction for equitable access to vaccines,” a press release from the Northeast Public Health District said last week.
To date, 1,121 vaccinations have been administered to the 12-15 age group in Clarke County. It is not certain that they’re all residents, since this is administered data and not resident data.
“This is a true community partnership in every sense. We’ve been hosted by churches, local housing authorities and other residential communities, public libraries, senior centers, employers and at food distribution and other community events,” said Sarah Peck, who is coordinating the district’s mobile outreach efforts. “We’ve also held pop-up clinics in grocery store parking lots and in downtown areas in conjunction with city and county governments. It’s never been easier to get vaccinated—we’ll come to you.”
The mobile clinics offer both the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For those choosing the two-dose vaccine, there are a variety of efforts being made to ensure that individuals can also find a way to get the second dose.
“We either work with the host site to arrange a follow-up event in the same location, or we make second dose appointments at the nearest county health department,” Peck said in last week’s press release. All county health department clinics in the district offer COVID-19 vaccinations daily, with both walk-up service and appointments available. For individuals who do not have access to transportation, free rides through Lyft are available for these appointments, thanks to a donation from the United Way.
COVID-19 vaccinations in health department clinics and mobile vaccination events sponsored by the Northeast Health District are free of charge, with no insurance necessary. Gift cards to local stores are being given away at upcoming vaccination events as an extra incentive. A list of these events can be found at publichealthathens.com
The district has also made it very easy for businesses, organizations or individuals to organize or host a mobile clinic event. Want to host a clinic? Go to http://bit.ly/NEHDMobileCOVIDVaccineRequest and fill out the online form.
Beyond vaccinations, Athens remains in good shape with cases and hospitalizations. In the past three weeks, there were two additional hospitalizations for Covid-19 for Region E for a total of 505 hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic. Further, to date, there have been 12,942 confirmed cases, up by 41 positive cases from three weeks ago, and 2,258 total positive antigen cases.
As of June 25, the 7-day moving average is now at 2.4, up slightly from 1.9 on June 4. There have been three Covid-19 deaths in June. To date, there have been 142 confirmed deaths and an additional 7 probable deaths in Clarke County.
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