In an effort to increase the number of vaccinated adults, Georgia’s Hall and Dawson counties are offering a new incentive through the legal system: People who are or will be performing community service as part of their sentence could have their sentences cut in half by getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Georgia’s current vaccination rate for their population is 37 percent, while the national average is 47 percent.
Hall County in particular is looking to boost their vaccination rates as only 29 percent of residents have received one shot, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dawson County’s vaccination rate is even lower, at only 25 percent. While court leaders are trying to avoid pressuring offenders into taking the deal, there is hope that many will see the benefits of the offer.
“Somebody mentions 20 hours and that may not sound like a lot, but that half a work week and if somebody can get a shot instead of doing 20 hours of community service, that is a pretty strong incentive,” said Andy Maddox, senior assistant public defender of Hall County.