Local vaccine clinics see some success, but hesitancy remains biggest hurdle


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The push to get people vaccinated continues, but fewer people than hoped have taken advantage of larger community vaccine sites.

The Savannah Civic Center has been operating a clinic weekly but as of next Thursday, the site will move to the Savannah Fire Department’s downtown station at 121 East Oglethorpe Avenue.

The once-weekly vaccination clinic schedule will remain the same — Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

CORE or Community Organized Relief Effort started operating the Civic Center clinic at the end of May and since then, a total of about 200 people have been vaccinated at the site.

But the large facility could have accommodated hundreds more.

“We’re trying I think, as an organization, along with (the Georgia Department of Public Health) and the community,” said Grace Johnson, with CORE. “There is a lot of vaccine hesitancy that we’re trying to tackle and just encourage people to get the vaccines, that they are safe, effective at helping to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.”

By about noon Thursday, 10 patients had come in to get shots. Precious Delos Santos was number 11.

She told WSAV News 3 she had COVID in March and was told she needed to wait 45 days to get the vaccine, which means she could have been vaccinated by May. She acknowledged she had not gotten around to getting the shot, but with recent word of the delta variant, she thought it was time.

“I’m getting the vaccine because things are getting worse, that’s what they’re saying,” she said. “It’s to prevent the virus from spreading and to help other people.”

Shots are now available in Savannah at local pharmacies, the health department and even the Oglethorpe Mall, five days a week. You can also check with your doctor’s office.

The fire station clinic will offer the Pfizer vaccine — meaning anyone age 12 and older can be vaccinated — along with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

There is no cost for vaccination and walk-ups are welcome. Pre-registration is encouraged and can be completed online at chdcovidvax.org or by calling the COVID-19 vaccine call center at 912-230-5506.

According to the Coastal Health District, testing will still continue at the Civic Center. And due to an increased demand for tests, pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Visit covidtestsavannah.org or call 912-230-9744 for more information.

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