ATLANTA (CBS46) -- CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expressing concern about the quickly spreading Delta variant of COVID-19.

“It is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of, and that I have seen in my 20-year career,” Walensky said Thursday.  

 As this roundtable Morehouse School of Medicine in partnership with Peach State Health Plan brought together Georgia’s top public health and state leaders as well as ministers and influencers to talk about the challenges of getting people to take the covid 19 vaccine. 

“We’ve actually developed census track data where we are seeing vaccine desserts—the areas and various counties where we are seeing lowest vaccinations— so we are trying to focus our areas,” Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey told CBS46’s Hayley Mason.

 On stage with a the panel that shared various myths about the virus, Toomey pointed out that very few family doctor’s offer the vaccine in their offices. She notes that family physicians are some of the most trusted influencers in the community.

“My own personal goal is to have every physician offer the vaccine in their offices. You’d be amazed at how few offer it,” Toomey said.

Insurance commissioner John King challenged people to encourage leaders to take the vaccine stating the law enforcement and members of the community with authority must encourage each other to be vaccinated to lead by example in trying to curb the pandemic.

The group hoped that community influencers coming from various backgrounds speaking about the benefits of the vaccination will help build trust based in facts to help stop the spread of newer dangerous variants that are more potent and contagious.  

“I know that kids tend to draw towards athletes, entertainers, actors, actresses so if I can be a role model and lead these kids down the right direction, I’m going to do it everyday all day,” Falcons Former Wide Receiver Harry Douglas told Mason. “That’s just who I am,” he said, adding that talking with people in a way they feel comfortable is important in establishing trust.  

The panel comes as the lates data from the department nov health showed on four counties in the state as COVID hotspots in the last two weeks, but still statewide deaths overall have been vast at 18,655 deaths as of Thursday evening. Thursday, Georgia reported 1,258 new confirmed covid Cases, 16 new deaths, and 78 new hospitalizations.

“It’s really important that we continue these messages that it [the vaccine] is free, it’s effective, and its available throughout the state.”

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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