There’s growing fear among senior citizens in Georgia over whether they'll receive their second dose of the vaccine in time.
Some states and cities have been forced to cancel vaccine appointments due to a supply shortage. While that hasn’t happened in Georgia, the concern is palpable as many people continue to struggle to secure appointments for the booster shot.
Gayle Esposito, 71, received her first dose of the vaccine last Friday in Fulton County. However, she hasn’t been able to schedule an appointment for her second dose.
“That is the biggest source of everybody’s stress when you get a first shot and you can’t get the second,” said Esposito.
A notice on the Fulton County Board of Health website states, “if you have received a vaccine from Fulton County Board of Health, you will be contacted directly to schedule your second dose.”
“I certainly would feel a lot less stressed if I had a real date,” Esposito said.
On Thursday, Dr. Kathleen Toomey acknowledged the issue, adding that the Georgia Department of Public Health is working with providers to remind them that scheduling a second appointment is “protocol.”
“If you’ve gotten your vaccine at a health department you will get your second dose,” said Toomey. “We have between 1600-1700 providers we can utilize, but we simply don’t have the supply.”
At the same press conference, Governor Brian Kemp announced the state will start receiving its full allotment, of 120,000 doses of the vaccine, starting next week. At least 40,000 doses had been reserved for vaccinating those who live in nursing homes.
“This is a step forward in vaccine efforts,” Kemp said.
Dr. John Whyte with WebMD is optimistic about the future of vaccinations after President Biden revealed his COIVD-19 plan to improve production and distribution.
“I think it’s going to improve in the next couple of weeks,” Whyte said.
President Biden wants 100 million doses to be administered in U.S. during his first 100 days in office. His plan includes using the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of masks, testing kits, and vaccine materials. The plan also calls for utilizing the National Guard to improve vaccination logistics.
Dr. Whyte said people, waiting for their booster, shouldn’t panic if the shot is delayed.
“Ideally, we want to keep it to what was done in the study, 21 days [Moderna vaccine interval], 28 days [Pfizer vaccination interval], that’s why we do studies," he said. "But if you get it a couple of weeks later it’s not going to be a problem."
For Esposito, she said she won’t stop stressing until she’s fully vaccinated.
“I personally believe a lot of this could have been addressed up front,” she said.
Georgia has administered more than 50% of the vaccines the state has received from the federal government, most of which have been the first dose.