Mayor Johnson encourages vaccinations among hesitant residents


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Mayor Van Johnson said Savannah’s mask mandate will remain in place until further notice and encouraged those hesitant to get vaccinated, to do so.

“When they get vaccinated, we’ll get rid of the mask,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I mean it’s a causal effect, I mean, we are not wearing masks because we like wearing masks, we’re wearing masks because it keeps us safe.”

Savannahians can get vaccinated at any of the three mass vaccination sites in Savannah or local pharmacies. For vaccine information such as site locations or to make an appointment, click here.

He added that residents can’t complain about a return to normal if they refuse to get vaccinated.

Chatham County has administered 123,000 total doses of COVID-19 vaccines and less than a fifth of residents have completed vaccination.

“Obviously these are numbers that have to rise, we will not get to herd immunity with only a quarter of our residents being vaccinated,” Johnson said.

Although Johnson expressed concern about Savannahians vaccination numbers he said he was grateful Savannah wasn’t mirroring the COVID-19 situation in Michigan, where the CDC director recommends another shutdown.

Johnson added the measures Savannah took in April 2020 were controversial and received push back, but helped keep businesses afloat and residents safe.

“What we said was, if we endured pain earlier, we would be able to rebound sooner and we have.”

Johnson, as he has in the past, reinstated his willingness to impose restrictions and shutdowns if COVID-19 infections begin to rise or if residents ignore the mask mandate.

Johnson also said the Savannah Civic Center has paused its administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Savannah’s homeless community. The U.S. recommended a pause of the vaccine after reports of blood clots in a minority of those who have received the shot.

The blood clots were reported among six women, all under the age of 50 nearly 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine. One woman died and one was placed in critical condition after developing the disorder. Almost seven million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Johnson said the city will monitor those who received their shots last week.

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