Beginning today, all consenting Georgia adults can get vaccinated in the fight to combat the novel coronavirus. Governor Brian Kemp announced Tuesday that vaccinations will expand to all Georgians aged 16 and older.

“Confirm your spot in line as quickly as possible,” said Kemp. “This is our ticket back to normal, and we’re getting closer to that point every day.”

Previously, Alaska and Mississippi were the only states allowing open vaccinations to consenting adults.

About 1.1 million Georgians are fully vaccinated in a state of nearly 11 million people, according to state data, and more than 2 million have received at least one dose.

Kemp said Georgia is at the point where they’re going to pivot and move quickly in order to get the doses to the areas where the demands are highest.

There are six state-run mass vaccination sites in Georgia. The site that serves Metro Atlanta is the Delta Airlines Flight Museum.

Kemp says Georgia is 49th out of 50 states in vaccines being shipped to the state by the federal government per 100,000 residents.

“When Dr. Toomey and I continue to say we have supply issues as a state, the CDC’s own data provides that point,” Kemp said.

Public health data currently shows hospitalizations are the lowest they have been since the end of June. As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports 1,212 hospitalized with COVID-19, about a 48% decrease since the last month.

Meanwhile, the mass vaccination site at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is supported by the federal government. During a media tour Tuesday, they promised they could administer 6,000 shots a day, 42,000 shots a week, and will offer evening hours to serve the working-class community. Mercedes-Benz Stadium will have Pfizer vaccines for the first six weeks and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the final two weeks of the program.

However, no walk-up vaccines are available at the stadium. Individuals must have an appointment.

Governor Kemp said Georgia received more than 450,000 doses of vaccines this week.

“We cannot afford to have vaccines sitting in the freezers, whether it’s in metro Atlanta or in rural Georgia,” Kemp said.

Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey confirmed the Brazil variant is in Georgia on Tuesday.

“This is where contact tracing is absolutely essential because our 1,500 contract tracers are being fully deployed to follow-up cases particularly when they’re in vulnerable populations,” Toomey said.

Officials say 351 cases of the UK variant, 15 cases of the South African variant, and one case of the variant from Brazil are in the Peach State.

 

Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp speaks during a press conference regarding the expansion of COVID-19 vaccination requirements inside the State Capitol on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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