Convincing hesitant people to get vaccinated remains challenge for some Georgia counties

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — Health experts across Georgia are doing whatever they can to convince people reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine that it is safe and effective. However, it remains a huge challenge.

For many getting the COVID-19 vaccine is like a security blanket and shield against the virus. Randi Schreck was hospitalized with COVID and recovered.

“I came here today and got my first shot,” Schreck told Channel 2′s Tom Regan. “Pretty excited.”

Then there are many others who feel differently.

“I don’t think it’s been out long enough to be tested, long enough to have a high percentage rate,” Robert McMann said.

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

Millions of Georgians have been vaccinated for COVID-19, but the state is lagging behind much of the country. Officials attribute that to vaccine hesitancy from people who don’t trust it.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Heath, 14% of Hall County residents have been fully vaccinated, about 4% less than the statewide total.

“‘There’s probably a lot of different reasons for people not being vaccinated yet,” said Dr. Zach Taylor.

[RELATED: State sets goal to get 80% of all Georgians vaccinated for COVID-19 by July 4]

The Georgia District 2 health director, which includes Hall County, said that hesitancy isn’t just the result of people distrusting the vaccine.

‘Since we are now reaching into the working population, part of it is access, and not being able to get off work,” Taylor said.

Some rural north Georgia counties are ahead of the state in full vaccinations like Gilmer and Pickens, which are at and above 20%.

[LINK: Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia]

But in some rural counties, the percentage of people vaccinated is much lower. Telfair County is just 9%.

“The challenge we have is convincing those who are hesitant that the vaccine is safe and effective,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the state has the capacity and enough vaccine to reach herd immunity in early summer. Whether enough people are willing to get vaccinated to reach 70-80% number is still unknown.

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