Governor Brian Kemp announced Thursday the state would be deploying more vaccines, opening new sites, and possibly expanding who can get the vaccine soon.
Governor Kemp said that in the next two weeks, the state will be looking to revise the list of who is eligible for the vaccine in the next two weeks. This is being done due to a gradually increasing supply of vaccine from the federal government and better guidance over vaccine supply over the last month. But Kemp continued by announcing another new part of the fight against COVID-19.
“Starting February 22, four mass vaccination state run sites will be available across the state,” Governor Kemp said. “All four sites will be strategically located to help underserved populations.” Kemp continued saying the locations would be in Bibb, Habersham, and Dougherty Counties along with the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta.
Along with the four sites, the state released a new website to allow for Georgians to signup for a vaccine, even if they’re not in the eligible group yet. The site, MyVaccineGeorgia.com, will work with the new mass vaccination sites for those who are eligible. Appointments must be made for the mass vaccination sites before you can get vaccinated. However, for those who aren’t eligible yet, you can still register and when you are able to get the vaccine the state will contact you.
Georgia Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey spoke after the Governor Thursday and said the state had seen a delay in the recent delivery of doses due to the large winter storm that has crippled much of the nation. Dr. Toomey said the vaccine supply expected for this week is delayed but they expect it by the end of the week or at the beginning of next week. She also addressed the need to get the second dose of the vaccine, even if it’s delayed.
“We are still advising providers to order the second dose after the first dose,” Dr. Toomey said. “You can use the first dose for the second dose. But what we have said repeatedly, although the vaccines are studied at 3-4 weeks, they can be used safely at longer times.”
Toomey was asked if that meant people who have received the first dose should get the second dose, even if they are more than six weeks out from the first dose; she said yes.
But while some teachers have been outspoken of their desire to get vaccinated; Governor Kemp said that based on recent survey results from school districts; there isn’t likely to be a big push to get teachers vaccinated earlier.
Overall, Kemp said the state’s 7-day average of cases continued to decline recently along with hospitalizations on COVID-19. Kemp said Georgians should continue to wear their masks, maintain safe social distancing and follow public health guidelines that have been out there for months and months.
“We must remain vigilant and we cannot let our guard down,” Kemp said.