Somebody, somewhere need a good butt kick.

For several weeks, Jackson County has lagged in its distribution of the Covid vaccine when compared to other surrounding counties.

Why?

We know that it's not the fault of the county government. The vaccine is being distributed through the state-run health departments and some pharmacies.

In fact, county commission chairman Tom Crow has been begging the state for more vaccine help. It was Crow's actions that finally led to the county agricultural facility being set up on Wednesdays as a mass vaccine center.

But that's just one day per week. They're doing around 500 vaccines on Wednesdays and over the rest of the week, around another 500-600 vaccines are being given in the county through other locations.

That's better than was a month ago, but still fall short of what's needed.

There are over 50,000 adults in the county. At the current rate, it will take nearly a year to vaccinate all adults in Jackson County.

That's way, way too slow.

That rate needs to quadruple.

There are 10 weeks until the end of May, the timeframe the Biden Administration has set to get all adults vaccinated in the country.

That means that here in Jackson County, we need to be vaccinating over 4,000 per week to get to that point.

We're not even close.

•••

It would be easy to blame the lack of vaccine for this situation — except for the fact that other counties have been doing better on a per capita basis.

And with the third vaccine about to hit the streets, some national reports indicate that we're about to have a vaccine glut, more than we can administer.

So what is the state health system doing about this?

I don't know because the communications from the state health system during this crisis have been pitiful. Their websites are a mess and their system of registration is laughable.

Georgia has done a poor job of administering the vaccine despite having months to prepare for it.

•••

Here's what needs to happen now as much more vaccine is about to be available: Every health care person in the county who has any modicum of training to give shots should be employed for mass vaccinations in the coming weeks.

Get retired nurses, off-duty EMS and fire personnel, pharmacists, nursing students, school nurses — anyone with any skills and set up 4 locations across the county as vaccination sites. Have those open every day, not just one day a week.

And ask for volunteers from churches and civic groups to help staff the tables for the paperwork needed as people come through the system for their shots.

The goal should be to vaccinate 4,000 per week, 1,000 at each location.

•••

Who should pay for it?

Hell, there's billions of dollars being allocated by Congress for Covid relief. Surely there's some funding set aside to actually pay for giving the shots.

If not, then local governments should dip into their reserves and help pay the cost to get this done. The sooner we get people vaccinate, the quicker our community, state and nation will return to "normal."

The federal government's response to this pandemic has been pitiful. The state government has been slow.

If local governments have to step up and fill the gaps, then so be it. Let's don't wait on the feds or state to get it done.

If it were me, I'd put a local high school football coach in charge; they'd kick some butt and make things happen.

Get. People. Vaccinated. Whatever. It. Takes.

•••

On another subject, the resolution to the effort to abolish the Town of Pendergrass is about as good as can be expected for all involved.

Rep. Tommy Benton ran into some pushback from state House members in the committee who didn't want to abolish the town without a citizens' referendum. His abolition bill wasn't likely to go forward given that pushback at the committee level.

And for the most part, he didn't get much support from Pendergrass citizens who wanted their town abolished. Many don't care, but a few do and mostly supported keeping the town's charter in place.

Given that reality, Benton created a bill that would change the city government and push a stronger ethics structure for city officials to follow.

For Pendergrass, the new bill gives leaders a chance to walk-the-walk. If they have truly repented from their past ethical lapses, then they now have time to prove it.

There's not been too much sympathy for Pendergrass given its sordid history, but if leaders really want to create a strong community, then they have a year to start that process.

If they don't, the abolishment legislation will still be alive in 2022.

If town leaders screw up, then that bill could — and perhaps should — come back to life.

Mike Buffington is co-publisher of Mainstreet Newspapers. He can be reached at mike@mainstreetnews.com.

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(1) comment

Allyana Ziolko

We did kick butt back in November 2020 and now something IS being done.

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