AJC COVID-19 vaccine tracker: Dosages may initially be in short supply

Governor Brian P. Kemp speaks at a press conference at the state capital on Tuesday, November 8, 2020.  STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Governor Brian P. Kemp speaks at a press conference at the state capital on Tuesday, November 8, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Here’s an update on some Georgia-based news involving COVID-19 vaccines and treatments:

Georgia officials said Tuesday they likely won’t have enough COVID-19 vaccine dosages to give to everyone in the groups they want to vaccinate first: health care workers and people living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Federal officials have said they hope to have about 20 million Americans vaccinated by the end of December, if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants emergency use authorization for a vaccine. That may come as soon as Thursday, when FDA convenes a meeting of its vaccine advisory committee.

Georgia will likely get several hundred thousand dosages in the initial allotment, state officials said. That would vaccinate half as many Georgians, since both vaccines that have applied for authorization require two doses.

Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said at a news conference Tuesday her team has had conversations with hospital leaders about how they would allocate the initial doses. A possibility is prioritizing employees who may be at greater risk of contracting the disease, such as those who work in intensive care units.

The news conference came shortly before the state released an updated vaccine distribution plan.

Kemp willing to take vaccine

Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday he’s willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine early if it would encourage others to do so.

Kemp told reporters he does not want to skip ahead of groups state officials wanted to see vaccinated first, such as health care workers and long-term care residents. Polls show many Americans are hesitant about being vaccinated.

“If it helps give confidence to our most vulnerable and frontline health care workers for me to take the vaccine early, I would definitely be willing to do that,” he said.

The governor said it will likely be months before a vaccine is available to most Georgians.

UPS ready to deliver vaccine dosages

UPS said it has Pfizer vaccines in storage in freezer farms at its Louisville air hub and is prepared to deliver them to hospitals and pharmacies once they are approved, along with supplemental dry ice shipments.

The Sandy Springs-based shipping giant has its deep freezers temperature-controlled to Pfizer’s specifications, said UPS chief sales officer Kate Gutmann.

”We’re starting already in the supply within those warehouses,” Gutmann said. “The supply will increase as the months progress.”

Multiple airlines and carriers are handling mass shipments of vaccines from Europe to the United States. Gutmann said UPS, which is the world’s largest package delivery company, will handle half of the small package shipments of Pfizer vaccines to sites in the United States, and all of the kits and dry ice to go with the Pfizer vaccines.

The company plans to send an additional package of dry ice a day after each vaccine shipment, regardless of who shipped the vaccines, for pharmacies or other dosing sites that don’t have freezers capable of the ultra-cold temperatures required for the Pfizer vaccines.”