Anywhere from 3,000 to 3,600 vaccines are distributed each day at the department’s mass vaccination site in the former Sears at Gwinnett Place Mall. But Arona said some people lack the transportation or time needed to make a trip to Duluth.
As of Monday, the department had given out about 120,000 vaccine doses, with about 37% being second doses. Despite Black residents making up 34% of the district’s population, only about 18% of those doses went to them.
With minority populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19, Arona said the department hopes that its mobile teams can bridge the gap. But providing vaccine access is only part of the battle, as some individuals remain hesitant about getting the shot, she said.
Individuals feel reluctant to take the vaccine for a variety of reasons, including mistrust of government, fears of adverse side effects and the misbelief that the technology used to make the vaccine is new, Arona said.
Since vaccines rolled out in Georgia, Arona has worked on educating the public and clearing up misinformation. She has participated in several live streams to share information with the public, many of them hosted by prominent local organizations such as Gwinnett Cares, the Latin American Association, large churches and African-American groups, she said.
As vaccine supply continues to increase, Arona said her department will prioritize both delivering vaccines as quickly and safely as possible and continuing to educate the public about the importance of vaccinating.
“I wish we had a dose for every single person right now, and if we did, we could get it out much quicker,” Arona said. “But as supply increases, there’ll be more and more places to get it. And we’re hoping that when people find an appointment, they’ll run to get the vaccines.”