SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – One of Savannah’s mass vaccination sites is seeing a decrease in the number of people getting vaccinated. At Tuesday’s press briefing, Mayor Van Johnson said the vaccine hesitancy has been “frustrating” and he’s pleading with the public to utilize the city’s services to get vaccinated.
After the announcement that the state-run mass vaccination sites will close on May 21 because of low turnout, WSAV News 3 has learned that the city’s sites are seeing the same problems.
“The vaccines only work if people get them,” Johnson said. “I fear that the urgency and necessity of being vaccinated combined with the covid fatigue, vaccine hesitancy, and the great weather has made people believe that this pandemic is behind us.”
The Savannah Civic Center mass vaccination site is capable of administering 1,000 shots per day. Dr. Kathleen Benton with Hospice Savannah said the site has maxed out at 400 shots per day. That number is now down to around 50 shots per day.
“I think there is a sense of urgency but many people don’t feel that sense of urgency. We’ve gone back to a lot of normalcy,” Benton said.
The goal of the vaccination site within city limits was to make sure those in the Chatham County area could have an accessible way to get the vaccine.
“So we’re wasting resources, we’re wasting time and we’re wasting vaccines by having people in places with vaccines and people are not using them,” Johnson said.
Chatham County is still seeing significant community spread. Coastal Health District data shows the community transmission rate is still high in the red. Benton said getting a vaccine will help reach herd immunity, but that message has gotten lost in the shuffle of things.
“It is not to just protect you or me it is to protect our American society and really our world,” Benton said.
WSAV News 3 is told that there haven’t been any conversations to close the Savannah Civic Center site just yet. This site is open only on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.