Muscogee County trails other Georgia counties in COVID-19 shots in arms

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Muscogee County is lagging behind comparable Georgia counties when it comes to getting vaccines into arms.

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Georgia back in mid-December. 

Since that time Muscogee County has fallen behind other comparable Georgia counties.

If you live in Chatham County, you are almost four times more likely to get the COVID vaccine than you are in Columbus. And if you are in Richmond County, you are more than three more likely to get the shot. 

What’s going on? 

Look at these numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health: 

“We are able to do 2,500 in a day,” Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson. “And we have got 40,000 on a waiting list … We just need the vaccine. That is the message we have taken to the governor’s office. And our assumption is they are not aware of how Muscogee County is lagging behind.” 

Henderson has been pointing out

“I know that Columbus/Muscogee County has done, by the numbers, we have done a better job of holding the spread down. Our numbers have continued to be below other communities our size. Likewise, I am hoping that that’s not one of the factors that is entering into us not getting enough vaccine.”

WRBL News 3 reached out to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office to ask why Muscogee County was lagging behind other similar counties.

Kemp’s office said that  “vaccine hesitancy” may play a roll in the low Muscogee County numbers. They referred questions about why the number of shots were low in comparison to other counties to the West Central Georgia Health District.

“I don’t understand why we are not getting as many the other counties. Because we are requesting them,” said Pam Kirkland, spokesperson for the West Central Georgia Health District.

Columbus was not one of the four regional mass vaccination sites recently opened by the state and federal government.

“The Columbus area is certainly part of the discussions around additional state-operated mass vaccination sites to increase those numbers,” Kemp Communications Director Cody Hall said. “This will be dependent on vaccine supply from the federal government as well.”

There are multiple COVID shot clinics in Muscogee County. DPH runs one, but the largest is spearheaded by the city and Piedmont Columbus Regional. 

There have been multiple drive-through clinics, but they have been limited by a lack of vaccine supplies. 

Fort Benning has been running its own vaccine clinic. The vaccine comes from the Department of Defense. And the post has not been releasing those numbers. 

Here are the numbers from the counties in the West Central Georgia Health District, as of Feb. 22:

Health DistrictCountyTotal VaccinationsVaccines Per 100KTotal Population
Statewide (Georgia)1,750,68616,59410,617,423
District 4Butts County2,1228,80824,936
District 4Carroll County15,77013,457119,992
District 4Coweta County11,5358,051148,509
District 4Fayette County7726,386114,421
District 4Heard County1,64313,99911,923
District 4Henry County9,1764,071234,561
District 4Lamar County4,36623,38219,077
District 4Meriwether County2,26110,71221,167
District 4Pike County9885,39018,962
District 4Spalding County8,95413,71066,703
District 4Troup County5,9648,52969,922
District 4Upson County9,71137,01426,320
West Central Health DistrictChattahoochee County1831,73210,907
West Central Health DistrictClay County83629,3292,951
West Central Health DistrictCrisp County4,31318,98922,372
West Central Health DistrictDooly County3,27023,80613,736
West Central Health DistrictHarris County2,1876,41235,236
West Central Health DistrictMacon County8016,02013,305
West Central Health DistrictMarion County94511,2078,359
West Central Health DistrictMuscogee County20,22810,334195,769
West Central Health DistrictQuitman County52622,9792,299
West Central Health DistrictRandolph County87012,4766,973
West Central Health DistrictSchley County92017,6615,257
West Central Health DistrictStewart County1,02516,2876,621
West Central Health DistrictTalbot County 1,12017,1786,195
West Central Health DistrictTaylor County1,79322,0928,116
West Central Health DistrictWebster County6758,5292,610

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