Stacey Abrams finds it incomprehensible that the communities and regions most ravaged by the pandemic in Georgia have been getting the lowest percentages of vaccines and resources.
According to the data that Abrams’ Fair Count has gathered, Southwest Georgia has been an “epicenter for the state’s troubled vaccine rollout.” African Americans make up more than 75 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in Albany, Abrams stated, yet that demographic is being vaccinated about half as often as their Caucasian counterparts. Albany is a more rural region in Georgia, nearly 200 miles south of Atlanta.
The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and state representative launched “The Road to Recovery: Count Me In” on March 16, 2021, to help those “hard-to-reach Georgians” get inoculated with the vaccine in the most expeditious manner possible. The campaign will collaborate with the Southern Economic Advancement Project.
“Southwest Georgia stands as a testament to what should be done and, sadly, what is not happening in the state of Georgia,” Abrams said at the press conference. “COVID-19 has shined a light on the public healthcare disparities that the state of Georgia has acknowledged and recognized, but it has yet to suggest a plan or even a shift in data collection to address these challenges.”
Dr. Jeanine Abrams McLean, the Fair Count VP, said there is a direct correlation between the inequitable dissemination of resources and minorities’ reprehensibly low representation in other important American institutions.
“You can draw a straight line from communities being undercounted in the census and underrepresented at the polls to those same communities being overlooked and under-resourced throughout this pandemic,” Abrams McLean said at the press conference. “We’re here because an equitable democracy demands an equitable recovery. We’re here because the South can use the systematic disruption of COVID-19 as a reset, turning devastation into a more just system for everyone.”
Count Me In will work to assist Black, LatinX and Native American communities that have to overcome obstacles to get inoculated at a “mass vaccination” site. Soon, the initiative will spread to serve identical communities in middle and southern Georgia communities.
Moreover, hard data collected by Fair Count and SEAP unequivocally dispel the misconception that Blacks refuse to be vaccinated. About 61 percent of Blacks either plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine or have already received it. Therefore, Abrams can say authoritatively that the majority of Blacks want to get the vaccine.
“What we are facing in Southwest Georgia is not a question of hesitancy,” Abrams said. “It is a question of access. We must do more to get people the access they need.”
Abrams asks Georgians to visit CountMeInGA.org and follow Fair Count (@faircount) and SEAP (@the_seap) on social media. Georgians who want to get vaccinated need to contact their public health department at 888-457-0186.