Augusta-area residents hesitant to get COVID vaccine

Craig Spinks’ doctor recommended he get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

But the retired special-education teacher in Evans hasn’t gotten vaccinated and doesn’t intend to. 

“I am a widower living alone,” Spinks said. “Can’t afford any vaccine reaction.” 

Jerry Parsons of Augusta is a long-haul trucker. He wears a mask in his brief interactions with people while on the road, and back home will wear one if asked.  

The rest of his family is vaccinated against COVID, but he isn’t. 

“I am on several medications for chronic medical issues,” Parsons said. “Both my primary-care provider and rheumatologist said they didn’t think enough research has been done testing interactions with other drugs.”

Both men are among the estimated two-thirds of residents in Richmond and Columbia counties who still aren’t fully vaccinated against the lethal virus, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

Certified medical assistant Tanisha Zinnerman gives a dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to Addis Kelley at the COVID vaccination clinic at Faith Outreach Church in Hephzibah, in this photo from March.

Why aren’t more Augusta residents vaccinated?

Why aren’t more people getting vaccinated against a virus blamed for more than 600,000 deaths nationwide? 

“Unfortunately, my answer today is going to be the same that it was in January,” said Dr. Joshua Wyche, assistant vice president of strategic planning and pharmacy services for Augusta University Health. “The one caveat is that people are more entrenched today in their decisions on the vaccine, on whether to get it or not to get it, than they were in January.” 

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