‘Y’all come’: Local health officials encourage people 16+ to sign up for vaccine

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Starting Thursday, any Georgian 16 and older can sign up for a coronavirus vaccine. Local officials say it comes at a good time.

Demand for the vaccine is waning in the group of people who are currently eligible.

“We’ve gotten doses of vaccine out in the state. They’re available. They’re sitting there. They need to be in arms of individuals, so I say, y’all come,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, the health director of the Coastal Health District.

He says his department can, at most, administer around 4,000 vaccines per week. Before the governor’s announcement on Tuesday, appointments were going unfilled.

Now he says there should be nothing stopping people from heeding his advice.

“Goodness knows we’ve got millions and millions of people in the United States and around the world who have been vaccinated they’ve been proven to be safe,” he told News 3.

Currently, the only restriction is aimed at teenagers who are 16- and 17-years-old. Pfizer is the only company right now with an approved vaccine for the age group.

“It was very likely that the preliminary information they had for 16 and up would reflect what 18-year-old and older persons would experience, as well, and that this would be a safe vaccine that would generate a reliable protective antibody response,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker, the associate chief medical officer at Memorial Health.

Still, not everyone is sold on the safety of the drug. Davis says even young people have been hesitant.

About 35 percent to 55 percent of eligible young people have received the vaccine so far. Data from the Coastal Health District shows 20- to 29-year-olds have tested positive more than any other age group.

“It’s that late teenager, early 20-30 something where we believe there has been more spread of infection because we’re less sick and are less likely to recognize that ‘hey, I’m ill and I shouldn’t be gathering with others because I might put them in harm’s way,'” explained Thacker.

Both Memorial Health and the Coastal Health District have available appointments and both administer the Pfizer vaccine.

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