As local providers struggle to administer COVID-19 vaccines, Congressman David Scott said he is in Washington, D.C., “raising sand to get more” of it released.
Scott and a panel of healthcare experts provided information and answered questions during an hour-long telephone town hall meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
Included on the panel was Cobb & Douglas Public Health Director Dr. Janet Memark.
“We can win this battle against this virus,” said Scott, Democrat whose congressional district includes all of Douglas County. “Wear your mask. We’ve got to attack this virus. I’m up here in Washington raising sand to get more released. We’ve got to mobilize it.”
Georgia is being shipped around 120,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines each week, Gov. Brian Kemp said earlier this week during a press conference.
Memark said CDPH is looking to vaccinate about 1,000 patients per day at each site once they have some up and running in Douglas County. CDPH opened its vaccination site at Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta last week.
“If people get the shot, it is the best way to beat this pandemic,” she said.
“The good Lord gave us a blessing in this vaccine,” Scott said. “We’ve got to do more to get it in people’s arms.”
The panel of healthcare experts discussed the two vaccines — the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They said there isn’t much of a difference in the two.
Dr. Lynn Paxton, the district Health Director in Fulton County, said each vaccine calls for two shots. The Pfizer vaccine is done within a 21-day period and the Moderna has a 28-day period between doses.
“There is no difference in the immunity of the two,” she said. “You need to get the doses in the allotted time frame.
With the virus continuing to spike after the holidays, Memark said that parents and students should consider virtual learning.
“Schools have tried very hard to make school safe,” Memark said. “We really need to try our best to do what we know works, continuing to wear our masks, washing our hands and keeping our distance, but really I’m asking folks to not go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. Everybody has to look at their own situation. It has to be done on a case-by-case and school-by-school basis.”
Dr. Jeffrey Hines, an oncologist who serves as the medical director of Wellstar Health System’s Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity, noted that all members of the panel, including Scott, have received the vaccine.
He said that research is showing that African-Americans and Hispanics are a little hesitant about getting the shots.
“We have to educate on the importance of getting the vaccine,” Hines said. “Without the vaccine, it could have a devastating effect on these two communities. We are looking for trusted voices in those communities to help deliver the facts and some trusted information. The infrastructure is there from a testing standpoint.”
Dr. Collen Kelley, a principal investigator for Moderna’s Vaccine Trial, said researchers aren’t sure how long the immunity will last after getting the shot.
She added, however, that the outlook is “pretty good” that it will last for months.
“We will continue to follow the people that went through the trial experiment,” Kelley said.