Tuesday marks 1 year since COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Ga., S.C.

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 1:03 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Tuesday, Dec. 14 marks a big milestone in Georgia and South Carolina’s fight against the pandemic.

On this date last year – the Coastal Health District was the first site in Georgia to receive shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine when deliveries arrived in Chatham and Glynn counties. Initial supplies of the Pfizer vaccine were limited, and the Coastal Health District worked with local hospitals and other medical providers to make sure workers on the front lines were able to get vaccinated as soon as possible. A representative from the Chatham County Health Department, Memorial Health, Candler and St. Joseph’s each received the first dose of the vaccine that day. South Carolina also got its first doses a year ago as well.

In the beginning, demand for the shots far exceeded supply, but the vaccination program steadily expanded. Today there are three vaccines authorized in the U.S. and plenty of vaccine available for all Georgia residents aged 5 and older.

Today, 52-percent of Georgians are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 51-percent of everyone eligible in South Carolina are fully vaccinated. Around 60-percent of all Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vaccine anniversary comes as the U.S. is set to pass 50 million COVID-19 cases. About 800,000 people here have died as a result of the virus. Georgia is close to passing 1.3 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The state will soon pass 26,000 deaths in the last two years.

South Carolina has recorded 930,000 confirmed and probable cases since March of 2020, and more than 14,000 deaths.

While there is no longer a shortage of vaccine, some residents are still hesitant about getting vaccinated.

Dr. Lawton Davis with the Coastal Health District spoke about the effectiveness of the vaccine.

“I think the vaccines have proven to be nothing short of a miracle or wonder drug. Time has proven they are very safe, and also that they do exactly what they are designed to do which is to prevent the likelihood of severe illness, hospitalizations or deaths who become infected with COVID,” Dr. Davis said.

Senior Citizen’s Incorporated told WTOC one year later...this is a day they’re celebrating.

“This was a game changing moment.” said President Patti Lyons.

One year later she’s looking back on how they took care of some of the most vulnerable in our community before a COVID vaccine.

“We had spent so many months protecting our clients, keeping them holstered away, keeping them isolated which is really one of the worst things you can do for anybody but particularly older adults, said Lyons. “This is a moment that truly we celebrate.”

As of Tuesday, the Coastal Health District says 52 percent of Chatham County residents are fully vaccinated...something many couldn’t have imagined a year ago.

“It was like this gigantic sigh of relief,” said Lyons. “And truly, our phone rang off the hook ‘How can we get this? ‘How can I get there?’. We did a vaccination clinic here and opened it up to all of our clients and told them ‘We’ll bring you here.’ It just was such a happy time and it still is.”

Lyons says almost 90 percent of their clients are vaccinated.

“Unfortunately before this vaccine came in to our lives, we ended up losing a lot of folks that are near and dear to us and people that had been clients for a long time, but thank goodness there’s an option now.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone ages five and older get vaccinated against COVID-19. To schedule an appointment through public health, go to chdcovidvax.org, or call the Coastal Health District Vaccine Call Center at 912-230-5506 on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. To find vaccination sites anywhere in the state of Georgia, go to vaccinefinder.org.


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