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Healthy Savannah warns of summer COVID surge; reminds public of free vaccines until November 30

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Courtesy of Healthy Savannah

It’s nearly back-to-school time. For many parents, preparing students for a return to the classroom includes ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date. Healthy Savannah wants to remind those parents and all adults that now is the time to get their immunizations updated, too.

The Coastal Health District is offering free vaccines for adults without insurance through November 30. Those who want to see if they qualify for a no-cost vaccine or to schedule an appointment for vaccination should call their local county health department.

“You should also schedule your COVID-19 immunization now to avoid the summertime ‘bump’ of higher COVID-19 infections,” said Elsie Smalls, Ph.D., operations manager. “Fortunately, the uninsured and underinsured can still receive these vaccines through the CDC’s Bridge Access Program.”

Local providers offering the no-cost COVID-19 vaccines through August 31 include the Coastal Health District’s Eisenhower Clinic, J. C. Lewis Primary Health Care and several CVS and Walgreens branches.

Warning signs that could signal a rise in COVID-19 infections are already appearing in Georgia and other parts of the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An interactive map of wastewater testing, which can help detect the spread of COVID in a community, indicates Georgia has virus activity levels of SARS-COV-2 in wastewater, and there is a significant uptick of “very high” levels in several other states including Florida.

In observance of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) in August, Healthy Savannah, in partnership with the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, is highlighting the importance of all routine vaccinations, especially for adults ages 19-64. The organizations are co-administrators of a five-year, $5.1 million Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant to foster sustainable health equity among racial and ethnic minority populations in low-wealth neighborhoods in areas of nutrition, physical activity and the reduction of chronic diseases.

“Adults might fall behind on their vaccinations because some vaccines are relatively new and awareness is low, and because individuals might not get regular medical checkups or have a mistrust of the healthcare system,” said Nichele Hoskins, communication manager. “CDC statistics indicate that only 22 percent of adults in the US are up to date on their shots. Those rates are even lower among Black at 16 percent and Hispanic adults at 17 percent, placing a disproportionate burden of vaccine-preventable diseases on populations who already face other inequities within the healthcare system.”

Life-saving vaccines for adults include:

  • COVID-19
  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • MMR
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • Shingles
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Diphtheria

Healthy Savannah recently conducted a landscape assessment, focusing on gathering feedback from priority Black and Hispanic populations throughout the Savannah area. Nearly half (45 percent) responded that they had received the latest COVID vaccine with two-thirds (65 percent) having received the annual flu vaccine. Nearly a third (30 percent) had received the Shingles vaccine, with 18 percent having received HPV and RSV vaccines.

Respondents said the factors most important as they were considering whether to receive an adult vaccination were doctor recommendations (80 percent), trust of medical professionals (70 percent), cost (38 percent) news information (33 percent) and feedback from family and friends (30 percent). They also responded the three biggest obstacles to receiving adult vaccinations are transportation (25 percent), cost (25 percent) and insurance (23 percent).

The CDC says adults need to keep their vaccinations up to date because immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off over time. People are also at risk for different diseases as an adult and vaccination is one of the most convenient and safest preventive care measures available. The organization publishes a Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for ages 19 years or older each year.

For more information, about recommended vaccines for adults, visit the Coastal Health District’s immunization webpage or Healthy Savannah’s Adult Immunization webpage at

SCCPSS communications efforts recognized with national awards

The SCCPSS Division of Communications has received nine 2024 Publications and Digital Media Excellence awards from the National School Public Relations Association–recognition in each category staff entered. The Publications and Digital Media Awards contest is open to all public or private schools or districts, including special schools such as vocational-technical institutes, regional or county education service agencies, education agencies and private businesses serving as partners with those organizations.

The District has been recognized with the top prize–the Award of Excellence–in three categories. Those are:

  • Special Purpose Publication/Superintendent’s Listen and Learn Report
  • Video Series-Produced in House/Board Brief
  • Social Media/First Day of School Campaign

The Communications Office also received two Awards of Merit and four Honorable Mentions for work in a variety of categories.

NSPRA Publication and Digital Media prizes are awarded according to publication type and type and size of organization. Entries are judged only against those from similar organizations. SCCPSS competes in each category against the largest school districts in the country. Each entry is judged on the overall excellence of the entry as well as its quality compared to other entries in the category. See the complete list of the District's winning entries below.


  • Award of Excellence - Special Purpose Publication/Superintendent’s Listen and Learn Report

  • Award of Excellence - Video Series-Produced in House/Board Brief

  • Award of Excellence - Social Media/First Day of School Campaign

  • Award of Merit - Video Produced with Outside Contractor/Attendance Matters Campaign

  • Award of Merit - Social Media/Women’s History Month Campaign

  • Honorable Mention - Annual Report

  • Honorable Mention - Marketing Material/Attendance Matters Campaign T-Shirt

  • Honorable Mention - Marketing Material/2023 SCCPSS Fast Facts Brochure

  • Honorable Mention - Magazine/In Case You Missed It


Chantel Britton

Chantel Britton is a compelling storyteller with an ever-growing curiosity. She's built a rewarding writing career for herself in addition to serving five years as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. She's an NPR nerd with a deep passion for all things travel, sustainable living and adventure. She...
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