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COVID vaccine hesitancy runs high in rural Georgia

▶ Watch Video: Rural Georgia sees vaccine hesitancy as supply outweighs demand

Banks County, Georgia — COVID vaccine hesitancy continues to be a burning topic in America. CBS News has learned 25 states turned down some of the doses they were allocated because of falling demand. Georgia is one of those states.

At David and Katie’s Amish Store in Homer, masks are recommended, not required. The ice cream is popular here — unlike the coronavirus vaccine.

“Your choice is your choice. And my choice is that I’m not gonna get it and I don’t want it,” said shopper Jason Fletcher.

Nearly 90% of voters in Rural Banks County voted for former President Trump. Its vaccination rate: 4%, among Georgia’s lowest.

“We have the vaccine available. We have the facilities,” said Dr. Zachary Taylor, director of Georgia’s District 2 sector for public health. “We’re just not getting as many people coming.”

This facility could vaccinate 2,000 people a day. It averages less than half that.

The country could be headed for another tale of two Americas: those with herd immunity, and those without, including areas that are mostly rural and at continuing risk of mini-epidemics.

Amber Schmidtke, an immunologist, has tracked Georgia’s COVID outbreak since the beginning.

“The death rate for rural counties has been more than twice that of the Atlanta metro since the start of the pandemic,” she said.

“So they could expect to see future surges increase demands on their hospital systems, deaths, just like we’ve seen the whole time,” Schmidtke added. 

Vaccine resistance could delay the state’s recovery — both health, and economic.

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