November 19, 2021 12:00pm

Community leaders vaccinated, not worried about holiday gatherings

Community leaders who responded to the poll are divided on just where Georgia is in terms of returning to normalcy.

By Nancy Badertscher
Atlanta, GA Correspondent

Community leaders across Georgia haven’t just been giving lip service to the battle against COVID-19, they have been rolling up their sleeves and taking the vaccine.

In a new Georgia Power Poll, 98% of participating business, civic, and community leaders said they are fully vaccinated against the virus – nearly twice the rate of everyday Georgians.

The poll was taken of leaders in Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah from Nov. 15 until noon on Nov. 19, just as some states – but not Georgia – were reporting new spikes in cases.

The survey was emailed to 911 leaders, 140 or about 15% of whom responded. Of the 2% who said they were not vaccinated, half said they had concerns about the vaccines’ safety and half said they didn’t feel at significant risk of infection or illness.

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According to recent data from the Georgia Department of Public Health, about half of Georgians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The virus is blamed for about 25,000 deaths in Georgia, about 767,000 nationally. As of Nov. 18, some states were reporting spikes in cases, with the most pronounced in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.

Power Poll, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, does not have the precision of a scientific poll. It’s only meant to provide insight into the thinking of influential leaders across the state.

The newest of the monthly poll of local leaders again focuses on the pandemic, which has had unprecedented impact on the U.S. economy, health, schools, and lives.

Community leaders who responded to the poll are divided on just where Georgia is in terms of returning to normalcy. About 39% said they are hopeful the worst is over, while 41% said the current lull could be followed by another surge in infections. Another 20% said they’re uncertain what’s ahead.

Still about two-thirds indicated they don’t have any serious worries about the pandemic as they head into the year-end holiday season and the likelihood of more social gatherings indoors. The remaining 36% described themselves as in full COVID-19 prevention mode, taking substantial measures to protect themselves and others.

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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