With plenty of COVID-19 vaccine available, and many sites in Bulloch County and the area no longer requiring appointments to get a shot, the push is on locally, statewide and nationwide to encourage people to get a vaccine.
“If you would like a vaccine, just stop by the pharmacy and we can help you out – no appointment necessary,” said Len McCook, co-owner of McCook’s Pharmacy on Highway 80 East in Statesboro.
Both CVS and Walgreens also announced earlier this week that walk-ins for vaccine were welcome, joining most local vaccine providers.
Following a rush after the vaccine became first available back in December, demand to get a shot in Bulloch has slowed, but it has picked up in the past week. As of Friday, 16,505 Bulloch residents had received at least one dose, an increase of 96 since Wednesday. The number of residents fully vaccinated is up to 13,806, an increase of 220 since Wednesday and 579 since Monday. Still, only 22% of Bulloch residents have received at least one dose and 18% are fully vaccinated.
President Joe Biden set a new national vaccination goal to deliver at least one shot to 70% of adult Americans by July Fourth as he tackles the vexing problem of winning over the “doubters” and those unmotivated to get inoculated.
Demand for vaccines has dropped off markedly nationwide, with some states leaving more than half their available doses unordered. As a result, the federal government is moving to shift doses from states with weaker demand to areas with stronger interest in the shots.
According to the CDC, more than 150 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 111 million have been fully vaccinated as of Friday. The CDC also reports that after a nationwide high of 3.38 million vaccines given on April 13, vaccinations fell to 2 million on Thursday.
The Georgia Department of Public Health web site indicates Bulloch County providers have been allocated more than 44,000 vaccine doses since December. That number doesn’t include vaccines given to CVS and Walgreens, which receive their doses directly from the federal government.
“I would say any county resident 16 years and older who wants to get a vaccine can easily get one,” said Ted Wynn, the county’s Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency director. “I urge everyone to do just that. The vaccine is readily available, proven safe and effective.”
State vaccine numbers
Across Georgia, 3,706,995 residents have received at least one dose as of Friday and 2,871,817 are fully vaccinated.
Local, state COVID cases
After reporting no new confirmed COVID cases on Monday and Wednesday, Wynn said Bulloch had three on Thursday and four on Friday. The county now has a total of 5,270 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. Overall, the COVID cases have resulted in 64 confirmed deaths and 219 local residents being hospitalized since the pandemic began in March.
Also, the state Department of Health has reported 50 non-confirmed deaths, which represent Bulloch citizens who received a positive antigen/ rapid test for COVID-19, developed COVID symptoms and then died.
Across the state, there were 924 new cases on Friday and 926 on Thursday. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now up to 885,148.
The state reported 22 deaths on Thursday and 33 on Friday. Georgia’s death toll now stands at 17,675 since March 2020.
According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, as of Friday afternoon, 580,615 Americans had died from coronavirus. Also, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has had 32,635,603 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
The Bulloch County Schools system has had seven new cases this week. A total of 647 COVID cases have been reported since classes started on Aug. 17. Since the beginning of March, the system has reported a total of only 52 new cases.
Georgia Southern had seven total cases reported April 26-May 2 — six self-reported and one university-confirmed case. GS reported 12 total cases for the week of April 19-25.
East Georgia State College has reported no new cases since April 18. The college has had a total of 159 cases across its three campuses since Aug. 17.
Ogeechee Technical College reported no new cases the week of April 26-May 2 on the Bulloch campus. Ogeechee Tech has had a total of 73 cases across its campuses since Aug. 17.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.