Gov. Kemp, Ga. health officials trying to build public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp(Source: WALB)
Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 10:57 AM CST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Governor Kemp and top state health officials are trying to build public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.

Just last week, Governor Kemp and Dr. Kathleen Toomey were in Savannah as the first vaccines were given to health care professionals. The Governor told me today it’s his hope that by leading by example, medical leaders can quell apprehension some still might have when it comes to getting the vaccine when available.

“It being done so quickly, it’s never been done this fast before. It does give some people a little bit of pause. And to have some of these experts to address that I think would be very important,” said Gov. Brian Kemp.

Governor Kemp said every person vaccinated is one less for health care workers to worry about.

“Our hospitals are really getting stretched right now. Even though we only have about 20 percent of the hospital beds state-wide on average that’s COVID patients, our hospitals are literally busting at the seams,” explained Governor Kemp. “We have a lot of folks going in to do end of the year surgeries to meet their deductible and things of that nature. So they’re extremely busy right now.”

As for vaccine distribution, the Governor says no one part of the state will have priority over others.

“We’re not going to make one area more important than anyone else. All Georgians to me are the same, they all deserve to get the vaccine. I hope they’ll take it. And we’re gonna work hard to get them to rural areas just as hard as we will to Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta or Macon.”

With regard to the upcoming holidays, Governor Kemp delivered a similar message to the one before Thanksgiving.

“Follow the guidance. People have worked really hard to have guidance where you can do things safely, like wearing your mask, using your hand sanitizer and that kind of thing. That’s really my message going into Christmas.”

On the topic of holiday gatherings, we asked the Governor about recent criticism he’s faced for attending this years White House Christmas Party with his daughter.

“That was something that I promised my daughter a long time ago. And she’s been going through a very tough time, losing the love of her life. And I felt like that was something as a father I needed to do.”

The Governor was referring to the death of Harrison Deal, who died earlier this month in a crash. As for the White House party, the Governor says he believes they took the necessary precautions to stay safe.

“I think quite honestly, we showed a great example of how you can go do that. I’ve got to commend the White House. They had very small high-top tables, so basically Lucy and I were able to eat a little bit and have something to drink while we were there. The tables were spread out. Servers were well-protected. The number of people in the White House was nothing even close to what it has been in the past.”

The Governor went on to say they also used hand sanitizer and wore masks around others.

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