STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination efforts against the virus continue to ramp up across the country.
Late last month, Georgia made all adults ages 16 years and older eligible to receive the vaccine. That includes college students in the state.
The vaccine is a big part of why Georgia Southern is planning for a full return to campus for the Fall 2021 semester, says University Health Services medical director Dr. Brian DeLoach.
“Getting as many people vaccinated as possible is one of the key things getting us there,” Dr. DeLoach said on this week’s episode of the WTOC Tracking the Vaccine podcast. “That will drive down community transmission number that we look at really closely. The other thing that we look at is the number of new cases over a 14 day period per 100,000 population. That’s what gets us there.”
The school held a pair of drive-thru vaccine clinics on campus this week. On Tuesday, one aiming to give 300 shots was held on the Armstrong campus in Savannah. There is one aiming at 2000 shots given happening Friday on the Statesboro campus.
Even though healthy college students are not considered among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, Dr. DeLoach says they’ve been encouraging students to get the vaccine in the same manner they’ve been encouraging them to wear masks, wash hands, and be socially distanced.
“By me getting vaccinated if I’m a young adult in the college age group, I’m getting vaccinated to not only protect myself, but to protect the community,” he says. “The sooner we see those community transmission numbers come down and stay down, the sooner we can get back to some semblance of normalcy.”