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Best way to avoid COVID: Get vaccinated
A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in the Norristown Public Health Center in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. The nation’s COVID-19 death toll stands at around 800,000 as the anniversary of the U.S. vaccine rollout

On. Dec. 23, 2020, Len McCook, Josh McCook and a team from McCook’s Pharmacy were at Southern Manor Senior Living in Statesboro administering some of the first COVID-19 vaccines in Bulloch County.

Now, almost exactly one year later, the staff at McCook’s has administered nearly 14,000 vaccination shots at its pharmacy on Highway 80 East and dozens of other locations throughout Bulloch.

“It’s been a busy year,” Josh McCook said. “Our goal is to make the vaccine easily available to anyone who wants one. It’s been satisfying knowing we’re doing our part trying to help get the COVID pandemic under control and people feel safe again.”

In the 12 months since the first vaccine was given in Georgia, more than 6 million Georgians have received at least one dose of vaccine, nearly 5.5 million are fully vaccinated and 1.2 million have gotten booster doses. 

“Countless lives have been saved thanks to the COVID vaccine,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “A year ago, the vaccine couldn’t come soon enough – it gave us hope and a path out of the pandemic. People were anxious and lining up to get their shot.”

McCook’s became one of the first local providers of the Moderna vaccine and later made the significant investment of getting the proper refrigeration equipment so they could offer the Pfizer vaccine, as well.

When the FDA authorized booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine in September and Moderna in October, McCook’s again led the way in Bulloch and has, so far, administered about 3,000 boosters.

And when the Pfizer vaccine was approved for children ages 5-11, McCook’s was ready and has vaccinated about 200 kids in that age group.

“You certainly need to be a little more comforting with the young children,” Josh McCook said. “But it’s just another part of what we do to help the community.”

McCook’s even offers children a gift card for a snow cone or an ice cream when they get the vaccine.

About 200 million Americans are fully vaccinated, or just over 60% of the population. That is well short of what scientists say is needed to keep the virus in check.

Since Dec. 1, new daily COVID cases across the United States have risen 40%. With the omicron variant on the horizon and winter just getting underway, health officials urge everyone who has not received a vaccine or a booster to think again about giving themselves the best chance to avoid contracting COVID by getting a shot. Also, being vaccinated has proven that if you are unfortunate to still get COVID, the effects are almost always much milder.

Vaccines are available Monday through Saturday at McCook’s Pharmacy. There is no need to make an appointment, Josh McCook said, but it may take a few minutes to draw the vaccine once you request a shot from a McCook’s associate.

“We’re here to help and answer any questions you may have about the vaccine,” Josh McCook said. “That’s our role in helping us get through this pandemic.”

This article is sponsored by McCook’s Pharmacy, which is located on Highway 80 East, across from Fordham’s Farmhouse restaurant. You can reach McCook’s by calling (912) 764-2223 or their website

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