Officials push to get more Georgians vaccinated

This week, Georgians aged 65 and older were able to get vaccinated against the coronavirus if they had an appointment with one of the few area providers.
Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville joined local health departments in offering the COVID-19 vaccines to qualified recipients, which also includes healthcare workers, first responders and nursing home residents and staff.
To schedule an appointment with Archbold, call their vaccine call center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (229) 584-7468 or request an appointment on their website, www.archbold.org.
To make an appointment with the Grady County Health Department, call (229)-377-2992.
MainStreet Family Care in Cairo reports it is also offering COVID-19 vaccinations. Patients should pre-register online at www.mainstreeetfamilycare.com/online-registration.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is launching a COVID vaccine locator on the its website at https://dph.georgia.gov.
The tool allows users to search by county for a vaccine provider in their community, and provides location and contact information for the provider. This is not a centralized scheduling tool.
County health departments and private providers are included in the locator.
Additional locations statewide will be added when providers are ready to safely administer vaccine, and as vaccine supply allows.
All health departments and most other providers require appointments for vaccine administration. Because vaccine supply is limited, providers may not have immediate appointments available.
The process of administering COVID-19 vaccine is more complicated than other common vaccines, such as flu vaccine, and requires providers to have more resources available, including an area where individuals can be monitored for 15 minutes after being vaccinated.
Meanwhile, as demand for COVID testing and vaccinations increases, Southwest Public Health District 8-2 is searching for additional registered nurses and healthcare workers, according to Charles Ruis, M.D., district health director, Southwest Health District.
If hired for the temporary positions, qualified registered nurses will be paid $45 an hour and assigned to COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites throughout the 14-county district. They will be asked to provide public health nursing services to individuals, such as collecting specimens for testing, test processing, immunizations, and discharge education.
The public health district is also hiring healthcare workers for temporary part-time positions at $15 an hour.
To apply for these positions or for more information, visit southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org and look for the links on the homepage.
Governor Brian Kemp asked Georgians for patience Friday as state officials push to distribute around 11,500 doses per day of the slow-arriving COVID-19 vaccine.
At a news conference, Kemp said Georgia’s vaccine distribution program is “making steady progress” but is still constrained by the limited number of doses the state has received so far. He expects distribution “will be ramped up” in the coming weeks.
“I’m pleased with how hard everybody’s working, but I’m not happy with where we are,” Kemp said. “We’ve got to keep moving the needle. We’re working on that every single day.”
Around 235,000 vaccines had been administered out of the nearly 700,000 doses shipped to Georgia as of Tuesday evening, according to the state Department of Public Health’s website – though Kemp said the website’s data is lagging behind the number of vaccines actually given so far.
The governor said local health departments have been swamped with requests to book appointments after he and Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey broadened which Georgians can receive the vaccine to people 65 years of age and older, police and firefighters.
“I’d like to continue to ask for the people of Georgia’s patience as we work hard to swiftly, safely and efficiently administer the limited supply of vaccine we have to those for whom it would be the most good to get it,” Kemp said Friday.
Georgia’s rollout has been complicated by large demand for vaccines from health-care workers in metro Atlanta compared to hospitals and clinics in more rural parts of the state, where Kemp said some front-line workers have refused to take the vaccine. He called their reluctance “unimaginable” and urged everyone to get the vaccine once it’s available.

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