By REBECCA HAZEN
The number of people fully vaccinated in Dade County is approaching 5,000, or 31 percent. There are currently 5,561 people that have received at least one dose, which is 34 percent.
Coupled with the rise in vaccinations, the number of cases in Dade County has trended downward. For example, there are currently 48 cases in the last two weeks. A week prior, that number was 58, and before that, 67. The highest number of cases in two weeks that the county saw was 171, in early September.
Logan Boss, Public Information Officer for Georgia Department of Health’s Northwest Health District, says that in northwest Georgia, there is a lessening in the increase of daily cases. However, the number of hospitalizations has not yet dropped.
“Hospitalizations are remaining steady. We are still seeing about 25 percent of new cases in school age children,” Boss said.
Boss noted that vaccination in northwest Georgia, and in Dade County, remains “pitifully low.”
“I don’t know if we have hit a plateau. What spurred a little bit of interest was the third or additional dose that was made available to people that have suppressed immune systems, but other than that, demand remains pretty low,” Boss said.
According to Boss, early on in the effort, the Georgia Department of Health optimistically had set a goal of getting 70 percent of all Georgians fully vaccinated by this fall.
“We are nowhere near that. We are at 50 percent [for the whole state.] We are certainly nowhere near that in Northwest Georgia. We know the vaccines are safe and effective, and prevent serious illness and hospitalizations and death,” Boss said.
Boss said that, yes, there have been breakthrough cases, but it is still a relatively small percentage.
“We are trying to get people vaccinated one arm at a time at this point. I think it would be wonderful to get 50 percent of our northwest Georgians vaccinated by the end of the year,” Boss said.
According to Boss, there has been some confusion about the booster shots. A booster shot is exactly the same as the first and second dose of the vaccine.
“Just about everybody who got Pfizer does qualify for a booster. We are waiting to see what the federal regulators say about a Johnson & Johnson and Moderna booster,” Boss said.
Boss also encourages people to get the flu shot. Flu shots are available at the Dade County Health Department, and can be administered at the same time as the vaccine.
The Sentinel reached out to the Dade County Health Department, but did not hear back before press time.
The number of vaccinations in each county can be found by visiting https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine, and then scrolling down to “interactive dashboard.” The number of COVID-19 cases in Dade County can be found by visiting https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report, and then scrolling down to the state map.