More Georgians getting vaccinated as Delta variant cases rise

ATLANTA — A rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths had led to a modest increase in daily vaccinations, according to state data.

The number of people receiving a vaccine dose has increased by 44% over the past two weeks compared to the previous two weeks, according to figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health. On average, that means an extra 6,000 Georgians are getting a vaccine dose per day.

“I sat myself down and said, ‘Okay, make the appointment,’” said Evan Carr, an Alpharetta mother of two. “It’s only getting worse.”

Carr says she contracted COVID-19 in March of last year and also again in December. She had concerns about how a vaccine may affect her body after two previous infections and she had relied on natural antibodies to protect her from getting sick again.

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She says the rise in cases, and the gap in time between her last infection led to her wanting to get vaccinated on Tuesday morning.

“It definitely affected me a lot, because I realized we’re not done with this,” said Carr.

Meanwhile, the 7-day moving average for cases in Georgia remains above 2,600 cases for the first time since February. More than 2,600 people are currently in Georgia hospitals battling COVID-19.

“There are tragic cases that I see routinely in in people who could have had this prevented by getting the vaccine,” said Dr. Douglas Olson, Medical Director for the Emergency Department at Northside Forsyth Hospital.

Dr. Olson says almost all of the COVID-19 patients in his hospital are unvaccinated. He says the delta variant is leading to similar symptoms as previous strains but the symptoms are showing sooner in patients than before.

“A lot of hospitals are really feeling the stress right now,” he said. “This wave is hitting us pretty hard and fast.”

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In Gwinnett County, Dr. Karl Simon says he’s seen a 25% increase in vaccinations at his pharmacy, Suwanee Pharmacy. He says people are mentioning the delta variant and also expressing concerns before the start of school.

“We’re seeing that people have more confidence in the vaccine itself,” said Dr. Simon. “The vaccine has been out now for over a year and a half.”

County health departments continue to host vaccine events during morning, afternoon, and sometimes evening hours.

But pharmacists are reporting the largest increase in demand.

“There is easy scheduling, easy access, and ease of availability when it comes to pharmacies,” said Dr. Simon.

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Carr says her husband has not fully recovered from his COVID-19 infection last year and is suffering from long haul symptoms still.

He’s not ready for a vaccine yet, she says, because he worries how it may affect his existing symptoms. Her hope is that her vaccination will help keep him from being infected by the new variant.

“If the Delta virus were to reach him, I don’t know what would happen,” said Carr.

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