ATLANTA — We’ve been reporting all week about how the state of Georgia has had one of the slowest roll out rates when it comes to people getting the COVID-19 vaccine in the Peach State.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks Georgia at 49 out of the 50 states at rate of vaccination – only ahead of Alabama.
As of Friday, 5,584 people remained hospitalized from the virus across the state. That makes up roughly 32.5% of all the state’s patients. The state says about 91% of all the available hospital beds in Georgia are currently in use because of the rise in COVID-19 cases.
All of that combined is why the Department of Public Health is looking for people to volunteer their time to help speed up the vaccination process in the state.
Colleen Corona told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that she appreciates all the public health workers who are vaccinating as many people as they can across the state.
“They can’t do this on their own,” Corona said. “I probably filled out the form 10 or 15 times, but the form never went anywhere.”
The state department of public health is ready for people to answer the call to get involved in the rollout.
“We’re both big believers in science and the vaccine, and we, you know, want to do everything we can to make sure that everyone who wants it gets it,” Corona said.
Medical and non-medical volunteers are being recruited. Officials say they could use help registering appointments, entering data and giving guidance at vaccine sites.
“I got emails right away after I signed up, informing me that I would hear from them soon,” Corona said.
Dr. Michelle Au is a metro Atlanta anesthesiologist and also a state senator for District 48.
“We need more people. That’s all there is to it,” Au said.
She told Johnson that she volunteers at vaccine sites through the Medical Reserve Corps and has noticed a need for more help.
“If we had more volunteers and more staff, we could increase the number of clinical staff available to do the work of vaccinating patients,” Au said.
Supply and staff constraints mean Georgia can only vaccinate 80,000 people per week across the state. But progress is being made.
On Monday, Georgia had used just 30% of its supply. As of Friday, it’s used 35% of it.
“Each county department of health has to design their own vaccine delivery, registration system infrastructure, it’s a huge task. And it’s really not something that we should be laying on people to do themselves,” Au said.
Fulton county’s chief clinical officer said he’s working with the state to move faster to bring in more medical volunteers.
President-elect Joe Biden is calling for $20 billion toward a national vaccine program that includes hiring 100,000 public health workers.
Until more help arrives, people like Corona say they’ll do whatever they can.
“People who have the good fortune to be able to volunteer should volunteer,” Corona said.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can volunteer. State officials say it will only take a few minutes. They review the credentials of everyone who applies and gets back to them on how they can help.
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