DeKalb County hosts town hall discussing rollout of COVID-19 vaccine

DeKalb County health officials gave an update on Thursday about the COVID-19 vaccine and the distribution process. The event was held virtually with officials from Emory School of Medicine, Grady Health, and the CDC.

Health officials emphasize if you're eligible to get a vaccine, you should, but it may take a while to get it.

"It's been a horrible year, and this year looks to be the same or even worse," said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, interim executive associate dean for Emory School of Medicine and Grady Health System.

Panelists emphasized both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine are effective and not all that different.

"They're both soft drinks. One is Coca-Cola, one is Pepsi. They're almost identical," said Dr. Del Rio.

On a local level DeKalb County's Health Director, Dr. Sandra Ford said the health department is understaffed and the need for vaccine appointments is high. The department is administering about 1,000 vaccinations a day. They said what they're lacking is help from secondary providers.

"It is unreasonable to expect that the entire county would be immunized solely by the board of health in 72 hours," said Dr. Ford.

Panelists also talked about side effects after getting the vaccine.

"Major side effects of both vaccines is pain at the site of injection. You may also feel chills, headache, fever, a little tired, especially people that have had COVID-19, that's just your immune system waking up," said Dr. Del Rio.

Panelists also debunked claims about the COVID-19 vaccine-like claims that the vaccine changes your DNA

"This mRNA does not interfere or interact with your own cells in any way. It just makes your body start jump-starting what it needs to do," said Dr. Christa-Marie Singleton, Senior Medical Advisor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Health officials said even after vaccination, people still need to social distance, wash hands, and wear a mask.

The town hall was organized by DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson.

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