DeKalb to host town hall to discuss COVID-19 vaccine safety, myths

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010721 DORAVILLE: RN Maureen O’Brien gets a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from RN Francesca Spagnola at the DeKalb COVID-19 BrandsMart USA drive through testing site on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, in Doraville. Curtis Compton /”

By Zachary Hansen

Seniors have begun to receive their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations in DeKalb County — as limited supplies last.

Due to the yearning by DeKalb residents to learn more about coronavirus vaccines, a DeKalb commissioner will host a virtual town hall at 6 p.m. Thursday, where a panel of health experts will discuss vaccine safety, dispel myths and answer questions.

Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson will moderate the event, which is called “COVID-19 Vaccine: Helping You Understand the Truths, Myths and Unknown,” according to a news release. The panel will include four medical professionals:

Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, district health director for DeKalb County Board of Health

Dr. Carlos C. Del Rio, interim executive associate dean for Emory School of Medicine and Grady Health System

Dr. Marcus C. Griffith, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente

Dr. Christa-Marie Singleton, senior medical advisor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As of last week, DeKalb had received roughly 8,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The county’s board of health allowed people 65 and older, along with their caregivers, to register to receive the vaccine last Friday but had to quickly stop taking submissions after all available slots were filled.

At the same time, coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations have been increasing throughout Georgia. As of Monday, there were nearly 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 500 deaths in DeKalb.

“As a commissioner, I have had several constituents reach out seeking advice on the vaccine,” Cochran-Johnson said in the release. “Understanding the critical space we are in, I felt it was important to get answers to their questions surrounding the vaccine from medical professionals who understand the virus and its implications.”

DeKalb is following the Georgia Department of Public Health’s vaccine rollout plan. At the moment, those eligible for vaccination include seniors and caregivers, healthcare workers, first responders and residents and staff at long-term care facilities. Family members and spouses of those groups are not eligible to receive the vaccine at this time.

DeKalb has set aside two drive-thru locations for vaccinations: the BrandsMart USA site in Doraville, 5000 Motors Industrial Way, and the former Sam’s Club site in Stonecrest, 2994 Turner Hill Road. COVID-19 testing continues at one location in DeKalb: Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church at 1879 Glenwood Avenue.

Thursday’s virtual event will take place on a video call, and attendees can submit questions beforehand by emailing Registration is free and available at

More information on vaccine availability in DeKalb County is available at When more vaccination slots open, registration will be available at or by calling 404-294-3700.

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