More people in Georgia are now eligible to get the COVID vaccine, including adults ages 55 and older, and Grady General Hospital is now taking appointments for a drive-thru clinic it’s going to hold here in two weeks.
Amid a recent boost in supplies, Gov. Brian Kemp announced the expansion of those permitted to get the vaccine starting this week.
Along with adults 55 years and older, vaccines are open to Georgians with health conditions including cancer, moderate-to-severe asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, liver disease, COPD, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease and compromised immune systems.
Kemp said he expanded eligibility to keep pace with the increasing supply of vaccines Georgia is receiving from the federal government and to avoid seeing lagging demand among formerly eligible people. Georgia is currently receiving weekly shipments of 223,000 vaccine doses.
In an effort to expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine here, Grady General will host a community drive-thru vaccine clinic at Cairo High School for eligible community members.
Vaccinations are available by appointment only. No walk-ins will be accepted during the event, scheduled for Friday, April 2, 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Those eligible to receive a vaccine can make an appointment by calling (229) 377-0274 and following the recorded instructions.
For more information regarding eligibility requirements and to download a vaccine consent form, visit www.archbold.org/vaccine.
Grady General nurses helped vaccinate 63 of the Grady County School System’s 634 employees during a mass drive-thru event planned especially for them Friday. Organizers may have been disappointed with participation since 200 school employees had indicated on a survey they were interested in getting vaccinated on a Friday and only 63 signed up. However, they still called the event a success.
“First, I would like to thank Grady General and their staff for their willingness to offer the vaccinations on a Friday. Mrs. (Crystal) Wells and her staff were very efficient,” reports Dr. Kermit Gilliard, superintendent of Grady County Schools.
Wells agreed that the vaccination event proceeded smoothly with school employees pulling into the student parking lot at Cairo High, filling out paperwork and getting their shots without having to leave their vehicles.
“We found the flow went very well and the process was orderly,” says Mrs. Wells.
The event started at 3 p.m. to give C.H.S. students time to clear out of the parking lot after school ended at 2:30 p.m., and then educators from all seven county schools arrived at the site at staggered times. In addition to educators, the hospital also vaccinated 10 community members during the event, Wells says.
Educators who were unable to participate in Friday’s mass vaccination, are able to schedule appointments individually with the Grady County Health Department or local pharmacies.
“I am hopeful that our employees are taking advantage of the other options,” Gilliard says.
The educators will get their second shot during the April 2 clinic Grady General is holding at C.H.S.
Nearly 2.5 million vaccines have been given so far in Georgia, including to roughly two-thirds of all people 65 years and older in the state, according to Gov. Kemp’s office. Vaccination rates have climbed as the state receives more doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The governor also said his administration is aiming to quickly expand eligibility further to Georgians who have been hit hard by the pandemic including restaurant, agriculture and grocery workers. How soon those groups will be able to get the vaccine depends on supplies holding steady.
“We want to move that population as quickly as we can and try to protect them and keep our economy going,” Kemp said. “All of this helps get us back to normal.”
More than 835,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Georgia as of Tuesday afternoon, with over 199,000 more reported positive antigen tests indicating likely positive results. The virus has killed 15,928 Georgians.