Georgia’s Slow COVID Vaccine Rollout Exposes Broad Public Health Shortfall
Tammi Brown, Chatham County Health Department Nurse Manager, was among the first in Georgia to receive the vaccine against COVID-19 on December 15, 2020 as Memorial University Medical Center emergency room nurse David Wilson awaits another dose and Gov. Brian Kemp and State Sen. Ben Watson look on.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is working to get COVID-19 vaccines in the arms of eligible Georgians, but employees there do not get a break from the work they had before the pandemic.
That’s what Democratic state Sen. Michelle Au, a physician from Johns Creek, found out as she was helping vaccinate people in Norcross for the health department on a recent weekend.
“You see how much else they also have to do, and it was Saturday, so they didn’t have quite the volume for that kind of thing, but they’re handling stuff for WIC, the women and children’s food program, they’re handling other vaccines, all the childhood vaccines are in that same fridge, essentially, trying to be delivered,” she said.
“So there’s all these elements of the public health structure that are supposed to be running under non-pandemic circumstances that they do an admirable job of handling but are still under-resourced, and now we’re piling this huge task on top of it,” Au added.