On Thursday, Jan. 21, more than 800 Dawson County residents, first responders and frontline workers received the COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination event at Rock Creek Park.
The event was open to Dawson County residents in Phase 1A for the vaccine. Medical professionals and EMS personnel administered the vaccine to attendees and directed them where to go.
Those receiving the vaccination checked in at the door for their pre-scheduled appointment times, sat in the waiting room, filed into the next room where their insurance cards and ID cards were scanned, received the vaccination, and were ushered into an observation room where they sat for 15 minutes before leaving.
Lt. Josh Warren of the Dawson County Fire Department received his vaccine near the beginning of the event and said that he chose to receive the vaccine in order to better protect those he comes in contact with while on the job.
“We’re out and around it all the time and around elderly patients, so if we can help to keep them safe we’ll take the recommendations,” Warren said.
Dawson County resident Walter Adams received the vaccine at the same time as his son, Walter Adams Jr. Both father and son described receiving the vaccine as a weight off of their shoulders.
“It didn’t even hurt at all,” Adams said. “I’ve been looking forward to this because I need to go to the barbershop and get my haircut and all that kind of stuff.”
Adams said that just knowing his father has received the vaccine will help to ease his mind.
“I was just so scared he’d get it at his age,” Adams said. “The grocery store is the only place I’ve been going and even then I’m still worried about him.”
Sallie Parker, public safety academy coordinator and trainer at the University of North Georgia, said that her reason for receiving the vaccine was to get her life back to normal.
“I’m kind of hoping that it’ll help make everything normal, or at least closer to being normal,” Parker said. “It was mainly just because I have family members that are really concerned and that’s kind of been the biggest thing with all this is I’d rather be vaccinated for them.”
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Fire Chief and EMA Director Danny Thompson said that, while he never could have pictured using his training to help organize and run a vaccination event, in the end to him it’s still all about protecting the public.
“If you’d have asked me in 1989 when I joined the fire department if I’d ever be doing something of this nature I’d have told you no,” Thompson said. “But I think for never having done this before, overall the process is going well, and if we can continue to provide this level of services to the community, that’s the oath we swore at all costs.”
Those who received the vaccine on Jan. 21 will receive their second dose in 4 weeks, on Feb. 18.
“It’ll be the same thing four weeks from now,” Dr. Larry Anderson of Anderson Family Medicine said. “When people made these appointments they were told that their next appointment will be in the same spot, same time as this one.”