Hattie Marie’s BBQ kicks off grand opening with COVID-19 vaccines community outreach

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DECATUR, GA—Zackary and Dash Mayer have been watching for an opportunity to get their Covid vaccines. They are both minors but over the age of 12. When the siblings heard the new Hattie Marie’s in Decatur, located at 130 Clairemont Ave., announced its partnership with Community Organized Relief Effort(CORE) for shots on June 24-25, they knew this was the perfect time to get their vaccines.

Lesa Mayer, their mother, a Decatur city councilwoman, and said opportunities for businesses to partner with health officials is a great way to get more people vaccinated.

“It’s not only important to get the word out about vaccination, it is imperative to have efforts like this that meet people where they are,” she said while waiting on her sons, “I think people are aware of being vaccinated but the accessibility may still be an issue. Having community centered events near people’s homes and workplaces is critical right now.”

Etanya Lucas, who is the newest Hattie Marie’s franchisee, said she partnered on the vaccine effort because she is concerned about the health of Georgia residents.

“Data shows that Georgia’s numbers are getting better for those who are completely vaccinated, but we still have those who have only had one shot,” Lucas said. “So we are going to have two opportunities right here so people can come and get their shot during lunch or a break on their job.” This first opportunity is before the restaurant’s grand opening on June 24th, and the second one will be after the official opening, she said.

Carolina Escobar works for CORE in DeKalb County and says they work in communities hardest hit by Covid, which include communities of color, immigrant communities, essential workers and others.

Accessibility, misinformation and language has been a barrier for many people, she said. “There has been a variety of things keeping people from getting it (Covid shot),” Escobar said. “Some people feel they don’t know what is true. But also there aren’t enough ‘in language’ resources.”

Escobar said that even when written, the information can be so technical that many who don’t speak English as a first language, may not understand the information.

Lucas said she would like to urge people who have not gotten their vaccine shots to seek out people who know answers and question them.

“Many times all it takes is talking to a reputable person and getting your questions answered over listening to rumors,” Lucas said.

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