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Over 800 COVID-19 vaccines administered during Dawson County event
Residents and first responders share their reasons for getting the COVID-19 vaccine
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Dozens of healthcare workers from the local medical community and Dawson County Health Department gathered at Rock Creek Park on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, to administer the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to local residents and first responders. - photo by Alexander Popp

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.

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Before the Dawson County vaccination event began, nurses from the local community and EMS workers filled syringes with the COVID-19 vaccine, preparing for hundreds of eligible local residents to come through Rock Creek Park’s gymnasium. - photo by Alexander Popp

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. 

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Dawson County resident Walter Adams Sr. said that he was happy to receive the vaccine and that receiving it felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. - photo by Alexander Popp

“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.” 

This story is continued below. 

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Sallie Parker, public safety academy coordinator and trainer at the University of North Georgia receives the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at an event held in Dawson County on Jan. 21. - photo by Alexander Popp

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.  

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Dawson County Fire Chief and EMA Director Danny Thompson receives the COVID-19 vaccine at an event held on Jan. 21 at Rock Creek Park. - photo by Alexander Popp

“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.” 

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Dr. Larry Anderson of Anderson Family Medicine administers the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to a Dawson County resident. - photo by Alexander Popp