COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for First Responders and Adults Aged 65 and Older in Georgia

On Monday, January 11, 2021, the Georgia Department of Public Health expanded the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a+, to new populations including adults aged 65 and older and first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters.1  Phase 1a originally prioritized only healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.  Despite the expansion, vaccine administration in phase 1 remains limited. As of January 8, 2021, Georgia reported only 167,057 of the 654,500 shipped and 615,225 total allocated vaccinations had been administered in Georgia.2

Vaccinations will only occur through closed point of distribution sites, including but not limited to, public health clinics and hospitals.3  As of January 8, 2021, Georgia reported that 1,481 providers had enrolled to administer the vaccine.4  Most county health departments in Georgia are enrolled as COVID-19 vaccine providers. However, the Commissioner of Georgia Department of Public Health, Kathleen Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., cautioned, “[d]ifferent areas of the state are completing Phase 1a at different times based on the number of healthcare workers and [long-term care facility] residents and staff they have to vaccinate.”5 Thus, many counties continue to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers before expanding vaccinations to the other populations.

In addition, public health departments are only scheduling vaccines by appointment, as are most other providers.  As of January 10, 2021, Cobb County6 was working to open online sign-up for persons 65 and older, but experienced difficulties. Fulton County,7 DeKalb County,8 and Gwinnett County9 had online vaccine sign ups available, which will periodically be updated as new appointments become available.  The Georgia Department of Public Health launched a “Find a COVID Vaccination Site” online tool to assist the public in locating vaccine providers in their communities.10

[1] Ga. Dept. Pub. Health, COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout Plan, https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-plan.

[2] Ga. Dept. Pub. Health, Georgia COVID-19 Vaccine Status Dashboard, (Jan. 8, 2021), https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

[3] Georgia COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, https://dph.georgia.gov/document/document/georgia-covid-19-vaccine-plan/download.

[4] Ga. Dept. Pub. Health, Georgia COVID-19 Vaccine Status Dashboard, (Jan. 8, 2021), https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

[5] Ga. Dept. Pub. Health, More Georgians to Become Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine, Dec. 30, 2020, https://dph.georgia.gov/press-releases/2020-12-30/more-georgians-become-eligible-receive-covid-19-vaccine.

[6] See https://www.cobbanddouglaspublichealth.com/covid-vaccine/.

[7] See https://fultoncountyboh.jotform.com/210075657162049.

[8] See https://www.dekalbhealth.net/covid-19-vaccine/.

[9] See https://www.gnrhealth.com/covid-vaccine-scheduling/.

[10] Ga. Dept. Pub. Health, Find a Covid Vaccination Site, https://dph.georgia.gov/locations/covid-vaccination-site.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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