Wellstar launches partnerships to encourage hesitant people to get COVID-19 vaccines

Shannon Ballew, Marietta Daily Journal, Ga.
·2 min read

Mar. 24—Wellstar Health System has started two initiatives to reach people who are hesitant to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Black and Hispanic Georgians are getting vaccinated at lower rates than their white counterparts, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study. At the same time, what officials call "vaccine hesitancy" is dropping: in a poll from the foundation, the percentage of people that want to "wait and see" how the vaccine is working for others before getting vaccinated themselves decreased from 31% in January to 22% in February.

Wellstar has joined Morehouse School of Medicine's National COVID-19 Resiliency Network to serve communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 with information and resources. Wellstar is the only health system in Georgia that has committed to the network, and one of two health systems in the nation to be one of the network's 40 partners. This includes sharing a COVID-19 vaccine guide in Spanish for those who primarily speak Spanish.

The health system is also partnering with Delta Sigma Theta, a historically Black sorority with more than 350,000 members. Beverly Smith, Delta Sigma Theta's national president and CEO, lives in Marietta and is a Wellstar patient. Smith, Delta Sigma Theta and Wellstar team members in the sorority have shared personal "My Why" reasons for receiving the vaccine to inspire others to get vaccinated.

"My 'why' for getting the vaccine is to make sure that I can take care of myself so I can take care of others," Smith says in the video.

To watch Wellstar and Delta Sigma Theta's "My why's," visit the health system's YouTube channel.

Cobb-Douglas Public Health is also working to reach vulnerable populations and those hesitant to get vaccinated, a representative said.

"We are working with the WellStar Health System and our community partners to get the word out about the importance of COVID vaccinations," Director Janet Memark said in a statement. "Our outreach teams have been reaching out to help to vaccinate some of our vulnerable members in our community. We have just received our mobile van and will continue to get into the community and vaccinate those who may have a harder time getting to vaccine providers."