ICYMI: Georgians Condemn Kemp’s COVID-19 Mismanagement

August 11, 2021

Across the state, Brian Kemp is facing criticism for his mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic. At a meeting of business leaders yesterday in Columbus, Kemp sidestepped questions on his administration’s non-existent plans to get more Georgians vaccinated, while op-eds in Atlanta and Savannah this week called on Brian Kemp and state leaders to ramp up their shoddy public outreach in an effort to get more people vaccinated in Georgia, where COVID-19 vaccination rates are lower than in other parts of the country due to failed state leadership.

In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, State Senator Dr. Michelle Au notes that “Gov. Brian Kemp…seemed to have all but given up on any further efforts to reach the eligible Georgians who remain unprotected,” but suggests the state can still reach unvaccinated Georgians through incentives and increased accessibility.

In the Savannah Morning News, longtime columnist Bill Dawers laments that “state leaders have never mounted an aggressive enough campaign to educate Georgians,” and warns that “the cost of inaction will be high” if state leaders like Kemp do not begin to take vaccine promotion seriously.

Read the op-eds below, and read more on how Kemp has failed Georgians throughout the pandemic here.

Opinion: Ways to boost Ga.’s vaccination rate
Atlanta Journal-Constitution // State Senator Dr. Michelle Au // August 10, 2021

  • Yet in a press conference last month, Gov. Brian Kemp, while acknowledging the importance of statewide vaccination, seemed to have all but given up on any further efforts to reach the eligible Georgians who remain unprotected.
  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” Kemp said. “I mean, that is not the government’s role.”Not only do I disagree with the governor’s assessment of what the role of government should and could be in this moment, I don’t agree with him that we have lead the horse to water.
  • I think our current situation is actually that we have a horse, and we have some water, but some distance apart. And our role in government is to be bold, imaginative, and above all, rapid in our efforts to bring these two together.
  • With a record surplus in our state budget, not to mention a significant infusion of federal money earmarked for COVID-19 relief, Georgia could certainly afford to fund a targeted vaccine incentive program like a college lottery — both now, and again in a few months, when expansion of vaccine eligibility to younger children could refresh interest.
  • I would therefore propose giving state employees a choice. Employees could either provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, or else be required to universally mask and submit to required surveillance testing for COVID-19 twice weekly, just as state lawmakers did this past legislative session.
  • Individual rights come with individual responsibilities, and no one should get to opt out of those responsibilities in some form.
  • There’s a segment of unvaccinated people that we could readily reach, if we just try a little harder to meet them where they are. Not only is it the role of those in government to protect its people from the avoidable spread of disease and suffering, it is our moral duty.

City Talk: More aggressive public outreach needed about current COVID-19 surge, vaccines
Savannah Morning News // Bill Dawers // August 9, 2021

  • State leaders need to mount a new public information effort so that unvaccinated Georgians better understand the risks to themselves, their loved ones and their communities.
  • State leaders have never mounted an aggressive enough campaign to educate Georgians about the available vaccines and the dangers of continued spread of the virus, but it’s not too late to chart a new course.
  • Aggressive outreach should target the populations that remain most at risk.
  • Residents of many rural areas are especially vulnerable, but communications can be tailored more specifically since the DPH keeps detailed demographic records on vaccination rates.
  • With the right resources and political will, Gov. Brian Kemp and state leaders could still launch a serious effort to overcome vaccine hesitancy and talk more bluntly about the risks that unvaccinated residents are taking.
  • The costs of inaction will be high.


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