WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Veteran Michael Dinkins says it took him a few months of research and discussion, but he decided to take a chance and roll up his sleeve.
The North Central Health District says within its 13 counties, only about 36 percent of people are fully vaccinated.
Compared to other states across the country, Georgia is lagging behind with 4.5 million people, or about 44 percent of the population, fully vaccinated.
Dinkins became one of them in late August.
"I've had hesitation as a result of some of the things I've seen from veterans. When you get back and now you have unexplained illnesses, so in my mind, some of these unexplained things could be from these medications, these shots that we were forced to take," he says.
Dinkins is an army veteran who served in the Gulf War.
He says he waited long enough to be able to do his own research and see how others reacted to the shots.
"I was silent because I didn't know. I wanted to give a chance to see research, what's happening, and talk to people who are taking the initial shots, the trial movement," he says.
He says he ultimately decided to get his done at the Veterans Affairs in Perry and he chose the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to be one and done.
"Through information, and just dealing with looking at friends who may be possibly dealing with it with their families, I could not just sit aside and do nothing. I think it's important that we all get vaccinated at this point," he says.
Dinkins says he's now hoping his hesitancy turned advocacy can encourage others to follow in his tracks.
"At the end of the day, I kind of had to decide, do I want to stick with the fears of my past? Or am I willing to do something that's different that won't derail my future?" he says.