Wednesday afternoon, Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp announced the creation of five more Coronavirus vaccination sites in the state. Those five sites will be located in Savannah, Waycross, Sandersville, Cartersville, and Columbus. Those sites will open on March 17th. The City of Atlanta is served by the site at the Delta Flight Museum and Macon has a mass vaccination site at the Macon Farmer’s Market. The seven sites can inoculate a minimum of 1,000 people per day.
Kemp said that the State has administered one dose to over 860,000 people over the age of 65, meaning they have vaccinated 60% of Georgia’s elderly population. In the past 28 days, they’ve given 1.1 million doses.
“I feel like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Governor Kemp said Wednesday during a more upbeat COVID-19 update. “Late spring and early summer, we’re going to be in a much different place than we are right now.”
During the press conference, Gov. Kemp said Georgia will receive 220,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week and 80,000 doses of the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The news comes as a Centers for Disease Control report says Georgia received 3,155,155 vaccines and 7.3% of individuals (775,586 people) have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Democrats have said Kemp has moved too slow regarding the vaccine rollout.
“The media will always focus on the worst number, not the number that matters. I think that’s what’s happening in this case,” Kemp responded. “We’ve got to target the population that’s hit the hardest and you’re not seeing that on any site.”
Also, Kemp said he would expand the state’s eligibility list for getting the vaccine to include more Georgians with severe underlying health conditions who are not currently eligible as seniors over the age of 65. Currently, physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, EMS personnel, and environmental services, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, adults aged 65 and over and their caregivers, and law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders have been eligible to get inoculated.
Teachers, school staff, and certain other vulnerable groups in Georgia will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting on March 8 at www.MyVaccineGeorgia.com
“As I have said many times before: Every student belongs in the classroom five days a week. Full-time. As soon as possible,” Kemp said. “That is my expectation moving forward, and we look forward to partnering with local districts to ensure that happens quickly.”
State officials are also working with hospitals and health clinics to decide which parents with children who have complex medical conditions will receive the vaccine, said Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey.
“We can’t let our guard down,” Kemp exclaimed. “We’ve got to keep doing this for another month or two, to get closer to true herd immunity. I just feel like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”