AUGUSTA, Ga. – It’s official. Every adult in America is now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Georgia opened up vaccines to everyone age 16 and up back on March 25, and South Carolina followed the decision on March 31.
Now, every state is at the same point, too. President Joe Biden made the announcement on social media.
We talked to healthcare providers about what’s next, and to Augustans about their thoughts on the vaccine.
Some say they never thought it would happen this fast.
“I had no idea that the availability would be so readily available, really for all ages in such a short amount of time,” Evans resident Teresa Boydon said.
And even doctors agree.
“But it’s gone very, very well and we’re looking forward to what I would call ‘the next phase,” said Dr. Rodger MacArthur, infectious disease specialist at Augusta University Health.
Even though vaccines are open to everyone, health care workers still have plenty on the agenda, including encouraging people 30 or younger to get the shot.
“For me, I’m not fully sure if I’m ready to get vaccinated. I still have to do a little more research, but I think it’s going to be a no for me,” Georgia resident Paris Warr said.
The CDC says about 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. are fully vaccinated. But the two-state is not boasting as impressive numbers as some of our neighbors.
Both Georgia and South Carolina have some of the lowest vaccination rates per 100 thousand people. Here at home, Augusta commissioners say 15 percent of Richmond County is vaccinated.
But doctors say they’re still happy with the progress.
“And the really good news, impressive news I think, is that among those individuals in Georgia over the age of 65, something like 80 percent of those have received at least one dose of the vaccine,” MacArthur said.
It feels like we’ve heard it repeatedly from doctors who tell us the vaccine is safe and effective. But MacArthur says 98 percent of their med school students have already been vaccinated.
And he says all those students have not gotten a positive test since then.
And what about other vaccine efforts?
In Canada, only two percent of people are fully vaccinated.
So, although some might argue we need to ramp up efforts, we still have a little bit of a leg up here in the U.S.