DeKalb CEO urges patience as county expands access to COVID-19 vaccine

It's become a common sight at drive-through health department sites across the state - a long line of Georgians eager to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I'm excited and happy that I was able to get an appointment," said Donna Clegg, who received the vaccine Friday morning in the City of Stonecrest. Health officials are administering the Moderna vaccine to seniors 65 and older, along with others who qualify for immunization under the newly expanded guidelines.

"It was a little difficult to get an appointment. I think many people have been frustrated by that, but, hopefully, as time goes on, it will be a little easier for everyone," said Clegg.

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DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond who, at 68, is also eligible for the vaccine, said getting the first dose Friday morning felt like the right thing to do in a state where more than 668,000 coronavirus cases have been reported since March 2020. More than 10,000 men, women, and children have died from the respiratory virus, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

"It's about protecting my family, my friends, my neighbors, and fellow Americans so we can get this virus under control," Thurmond said.

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Many of the drive-through sites initially established for COVID-19 testing were converted to vaccination stations once the vaccines arrived in Georgia in December. Thurmond is urging Georgians to be patient and vigilant in their efforts to get immunized.

"I know it’s been a challenge getting those appointments, but all Americans must band together to stem the tide of this deadly disease, he said.

Clegg waited in the car line a little more than an hour at the Stonecrest vaccine site in the parking lot of the vacant Sams’ Club. She said the wait is worth the sense of security that she said comes with the vaccine.

"I would like to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, so I'm glad to be able to move forward and maybe feel a little bit of confidence that I'm a little bit safe than I was before," she said.

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