Haralson County was one of the last counties in the state to come off the Department of Public Health’s high transmission of COVID list, and one probable reason was the low vaccination rate, health department officials said.

As of Nov. 1, Haralson County was one of just 12 counties in the state considered by the Georgia Department of Public Health as one still having a high transmission of COVID. It did come off the list this week, along with Dade and Catoosa counties in the Northwest Health District, said Logan Boss, public information officer for the district.

Over the previous two weeks, Haralson County had a confirmed case rate of 138 per 100,000 population — higher than the statewide rate of 125 per 100,000 population. At the same time, it had a very low rate of vaccination against COVID. Just 34% of Haralson County residents were fully-vaccinated as of Tuesday, 37% had received at least one dose of the vaccination — a few more people have gotten vaccinated over the past two weeks but it wasn’t enough to change the percentages.

That’s much lower than the state vaccination rate of 56% and 50% respectively. In fact, that’s something that all the counties that remained on the Public Health’s high transmission list had in common — they are all below the state’s vaccination rates — in most cases much lower.

That low vaccination rate leaves the county vulnerable to other possible mutations of the COVID virus that may develop, Boss said.

“It’s something that people should be concerned about,” he said. “Right now, there are none as highly transmissible as the Delta variant; that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.”

The department recently began offering the Pfizer vaccines for children ages 5-11, Boss said. And although the virus seems to be waning right now it’s still important to get children vaccinated. Children may be less susceptible to the virus, but the district has had cases in children under 10 years old and child death under 10 years old. In addition, children can pass the disease to a more susceptible population, Boss added.

“It’s still recommended,” he said. “It provides those younger kids with immunity for a yet to be determined amount of time as they get older.”

The Haralson County Health Department is offering the childhood immunizations by appointment, Boss said.

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