It was a milestone moment in Georgia’s fight against the pandemic when – on this date last year – the Coastal Health District was the first site in the state to receive shipments of COVID-19 vaccine when deliveries arrived in Chatham and Glynn Counties. Initial supplies of the Pfizer vaccine were limited, and the Coastal Health District worked with local hospitals and other medical providers to make sure workers on the front lines of the pandemic were able to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Demand for the shots far exceeded supply in the beginning, but the vaccination program steadily expanded. Today there are three vaccines authorized in the United States and plenty of vaccine available for all Georgia residents aged 5 and older.
“There was a true feeling of hope when the vaccine landed on our doorstep back in December 2020. It was the first sign of light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel,” said Coastal Health District Health Director, Dr. Lawton Davis.
To date, more than 178,000 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered through public health in the eight-county Coastal Health District. Though vaccine is now offered at many locations including urgent care centers, hospitals, and pharmacies, initial vaccination efforts centered around health departments.
“I just can’t say enough about the incredible amount of hard work and sacrifice by our public health team. It wasn’t easy, especially in the early days when demand for vaccine outweighed supply, but they persevered and did everything possible to get our residents vaccinated,” said Davis. “It was a heavy burden and one that our folks carried with grace and determination.”
While there is no longer a shortage of vaccine, some residents are still hesitant about getting vaccinated.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in the span of a single year, but we have a long way to go,” said Davis. “COVID-19 is still a significant public health threat and there will almost certainly be more emerging variants. We know vaccine helps lessen the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 in the same way that we know seatbelts help lessen the risk of severe injury from a car accident. But these measures only protect you if you use them.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone ages five and older get vaccinated against COVID-19. To schedule an appointment through public health, go to chdcovidvax.org, or call the Coastal Health District Vaccine Call Center at 912-230-5506 on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. To find vaccination sites anywhere in the state of Georgia, go to vaccinefinder.org.