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Political Rewind: As Vaccine Eligibility Grows, A Look Back (And Forward) At The COVID-19 Pandemic
Tuesday on Political Rewind: a pandemic year in review as we discussed the devastating track of the coronavirus in Georgia. The pandemic dramatically shifted many lives in our state. More than 16,000 Georgian died of coronavirus-related illness, while around one million people were infected by the virus.
But are we close to the light at the end of the tunnel? Yesterday, eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine appointments expanded to include a majority of Georgia adults. Residents 55 and older are now eligible for shots, as are adults with a wide range of serious illness.
Meanwhile in rural Georgia, the demand for vaccine is muted. In response, Gov. Brian Kemp said supplies of COVID vaccinations could be shifted to larger population centers. The state's handling of COVID-19 vaccinations received criticism after the Center for Disease Control listed Georgia among the least effective states for getting shots into arms.
Our panel looked at the effectiveness of the state’s vaccine rollout so far.
Health journalist Keren Landman said the subdued rollout is the result of lack of investment in public health infrastructure.
"It's not bad people doing the work badly; it is an underfunded system being underfunded," Landman said. "This is what happens when you do not fund infrastructure for public health. I hope this will provoke Georgia and Georgians and to prioritize funding a good public health program throughout the state in the future."
And finally, our panel discussed the impact a year of social distancing and isolation has had on the mental health of children and adults.
Dr. Harry Heiman — Physician and Professor, School of Public Health, Georgia State University
Dr. Keren Landman — Physician, Health and Medicine Journalist
Dr. Roy Reese — Psychologist and Director of Behavioral Health at Akoma Counseling and Consulting
Tamar Hallerman — Senior Reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution