However, being eligible for the vaccine and snagging an appointment are two different things entirely.
As the eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine expands, it is rapidly becoming a topic of debate and frustration for many families within the United States. In Georgia, the vaccine is currently open to those over 65 years of age, healthcare professionals and first responders. However, being eligible for the vaccine and snagging an appointment are two different things entirely.
The sheer volume of eligible people seeking to receive a dose of the vaccine is overwhelming the local healthcare systems. Vaccinations are given by appointment only, and open slots are difficult to come by. Local medical centers are taking appointment requests online, but the overflow of internet traffic resulted in website errors and incessant phone calls.
In response to these complaints, the North Georgia Health District set up a COVID-specific hotline for appointment requests. The number of calls continuing to come through the hotline still cause frustratingly long wait times, but the health district believes that the combined effort of staff members and the introduction of the hotline will aid in managing the demand.
Despite the overwhelming amount of appointments that are currently being made, many individuals and families are still on the fence about trusting the vaccine. Much of this hesitation comes from the vaccine’s accelerated development speed. While the average vaccine takes around a decade to research and produce, the COVID-19 vaccine options rolled out within a year of the initial outbreak.
Mr. Brad Cundiff, the Varsity girls’ basketball coach, was given the chance to skip the hassle of making an appointment and receive the vaccine due to his role as a software engineer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. CHOA strongly recommended getting the COVID-19 vaccine but provided their staff members with a choice instead of making the vaccination mandatory.
“It is an early vaccine, and my wife had some concerns about that, which I completely understand,” said Cundiff. “But the more people I talked to who had gotten the vaccine before me were very adamant about the fact that, if you can get it, you need to get it. I am relatively young and healthy, and I’ve never had a reason to not get a vaccine, so I have always gotten them.”
Cundiff received the first dose of the two-part Moderna vaccine in early January, experiencing only short-lived fatigue and soreness at the injection site as side effects. While he and his family were originally unsure about getting the vaccine, Cundiff now recommends it to everyone who has the opportunity to receive it.
“I would recommend getting the vaccine because it will help spread immunity, and it keeps you from getting the virus,” said Cundiff. “I definitely want my family to get it.”