Gwinnett Place mall will become COVID-19 vaccination center

Gwinnett Place Mall will become the main COVID-19 vaccination facility in the county, beginning Saturday.

The county health department will stop offering vaccines at its Lawrenceville office in order to move distribution to the former Sears store at the mall in Duluth, said Chad Wasdin, the communications director for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale county health departments.

Beginning Saturday, the converted space will be able to provide 1,000 vaccinations a day. Wasdin said the space allows the health department to scale up to 3,000 vaccinations daily, when more of the vaccine becomes available.

“We just need the vaccine to make it happen,” Wasdin said.

Residents will still need an appointment to receive the vaccine; all for the next week are currently booked. Wasdin said new slots generally open up on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and appointments can be made at the county health department’s website,

Currently, those eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine are frontline healthcare workers, people more than 65 years old and those who work in or are residents of long-term care facilities.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bordeaux, D-Suwanee, has called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to put one of 100 planned vaccine centers in her district, which includes Gwinnett and Forsyth counties. She said in a Tuesday letter that the shortfall in vaccinating Black and Hispanic residents could be helped by adding a site in Gwinnett.

Nicole Love Hendrickson, Gwinnett’s chairwoman, echoed the request, saying in her own letter to FEMA that the county’s diverse populations “have been disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic, but are not being vaccinated rapidly.

Gwinnett has 74,825 confirmed coronavirus cases, more than anywhere else in the state.