Approximately 34 percent of Pickens County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of June 7th, according to figures released by the North Georgia Health District (NGHD).
The NGHD reported Monday that 10,792 Pickens residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine - 34 percent of the population - and 9,861 people - or 31 percent - are fully vaccinated. Those figures are well behind the state’s overall percentage of 41 percent with at least one dose and 34 percent who are fully vaccinated.
There are 32,591 Pickens residents, according to the latest available figures from 2019 from the U.S. Census Bureau.
As of June 7th, the NGHD reported that 20,185 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Pickens County. That figure includes non-residents.
“People were coming from other counties to get vaccinated here” said Jennifer King, public information officer for the North Georgia Health District. “They were really flooding into our county to be vaccinated.”
Vaccinations began in Pickens County on December 29, 2020. Adults 55 and over were eligible for the vaccine on March 17, 2021 and all adults were eligible March 25, 2021.
In all there have been 64 confirmed deaths and another 14 “probable” deaths among Pickens County residents from the coronavirus, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, with 2,573 cumulative cases since the outbreak began last year. The peak of the outbreak occurred late December 2020 and into the first week of January, 2021, just as vaccinations began rolling out.
As of Monday, June 7th, there have been 897,864 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia, with 18,190 deaths, 64,055 hospitalizations, 10,668 ICU admissions, and another 2,796 “probable” deaths attributed to COVID-19.
In Cherokee County, 37 percent of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 33 percent are fully vaccinated; 33 percent of Gilmer County residents have had at least one dose, with 30 percent fully vaccinated; 31 percent of Fannin County residents have received at least one dose and 28 percent are fully vaccinated; just 29 percent of Dawson County residents have received at least one dose while 26 percent are fully vaccinated.
“Folks are working really hard to get everyone vaccinated,” King said. “Statewide and nationwide there is a big push to get them to get vaccinated. We are just trying to educate them on the vaccine.”
King said questions and answers about the vaccine and the virus are located on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website at www.dph.georgia.gov
“We’ve had people going out and talking and doing presentations. We’ve been into the nursing homes and worked with groups to help us reach the homeless and the homebound and into the jails. Anywhere there are groups of people we have gone there and worked to get them to get their vaccine. We’ve reached out to our latino community and younger people with social media. We’re even on TikTok now,” King said.
“We’re just constantly trying to find ways to help them understand the importance of the vaccine and answer any questions they may have. We know there are a lot of rumors and myths to be dispelled.”
King said part of the issue with the low vaccination rate is “just lethargy.”
“People just think this isn’t going to affect them.”
King encourages everyone eligible for the vaccination to get vaccinated. No appointment is needed at the local health department. The health department is located at 60 Health Way, Jasper. They may be reached at 706-253-2821. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday - 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday - 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Friday - 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.