DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - As COVID-19 infections increase across the country city and state leaders are working on ways to increase vaccination rates.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond hopes a new incentive will encourage people to get the shot and help prevent the spread.
"We must scream from the top of the roof if necessary to alert our fellow citizens to protect yourself, family, and community," Michael Thurmond said.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond is on a mission in his county.
"We were trying to jumpstart vaccinations in DeKalb County again," Thurmond said.
As of Friday, only 44% of the county is fully vaccinated.
That’s why leaders are giving away $50 prepaid debit cards to the first 300 people who get vaccinated at the county’s monthly food distribution.
It will take place Saturday, July 24.
Beginning at 8 a.m., DeKalb County Board of Health medical professionals and DeKalb County Fire Rescue paramedics and EMTs will administer voluntary COVID-19 vaccinations to residents 12 years of age and older at three locations:
- James R. Hallford Stadium, 3789 Memorial College Ave., Clarkston, Georgia 30021
- Buck Godfrey Stadium, 2817 Clifton Springs Rd., Decatur, Georgia 30034
- Rehoboth Baptist Church, 2997 Lawrenceville Hwy., Tucker, Georgia 30084
"We want to reach heard immunity in DeKalb County and we have a ways to go. In order to get there is one shot in one arm at a time and if we can increase that number in any way then we will consider this a major success," Thurmond said.
This is not just a county issue but a state problem.
Georgia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
The state department of health only reports 40 percent of people statewide are fully vaccinated.
In the county, the problem is deeper.
Only 34 percent of African-Americans and 35 percent of Hispanics have received at least one dose.
Compare that to 52 percent of Whites and 67 percent in Asian communities.
"We are going to have to be much more aggressive to those communities of color who are under-vaccinated and at greater risk on the rising infection rate and talking to them one on one," Thurmond said.
There’s another concern as schools are set to start soon.
"My greatest fear and concerns is that the schools are reopening at the same time infection rates are rising and we have these low vaccination rates," Thurmond said.
It’s more than just giving away money for Thurmond.
It’s about protecting those he serves.
"If we can get one person vaccinated and protect that person and save his or her life then it will be worth it," Thurmond said.
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