UPDATED: COVID-19 vaccine in metro Atlanta: Everything you need to know

Who is eligible, vaccines for children, how to get an appointment and more information

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senior Policy Advisor respond to Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll results about COVID-19

The number of people getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia is steadily rising and availability is improving. Three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use in the United States. One has been developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. A second has been developed by Moderna.

A third vaccine, a one-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, was approved for emergency use in the U.S. on Saturday, Feb. 27. There was a brief pause in administering the vaccine while scientists looked into a small number of rare blood clots possibly associated with the vaccine.

All Georgians age 12 and older are now eligible for the COVID vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech is the only vaccine currently authorized for 12-17-year-olds.

Getting an appointment: Key things to know

If you are eligible, and all Georgia adults now are, you may want to look for appointments in more than one county, especially if you live in metro Atlanta. Any Georgia resident can receive a vaccine at any available Georgia site.

For state and county vaccination appointments, check this state of Georgia appointment web sites first:

Eight large state-run vaccine centers closed on May 21. One remaining site, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is scheduled to close June 7. The Mercedes-Benz site is operated by the State of Georgia and Fulton County, with support from FEMA. Operating hours for walk-up vaccines are listed on the Fulton County Health Department website.

If you have a doctor or doctor group that you normally see for annual checkups, check the web site for your doctor. Some are now offering vaccine appointments to more patients.

For adolescents and young adults

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is now vaccinating eligible children and young adults 12 to 20, along with their caregivers at a Fulton County vaccine site near the Atlanta airport. Children’s nurses are available onsite to help alleviate anxiety in patients receiving the vaccine, according to the hospital system. The vaccines are Pfizer vaccines. The site is the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC). Note: for those under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must accompany you. To make an appointment, go to the Children’s Vaccine Scheduler Link here.

More about vaccinating 12-to-15-year olds

On May 12, the CDC approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 to 15, following approval by the FDA earlier in the week. Once the CDC also approves, which could be May 12, parents or guardians can sign up for appointments for those youngsters. To locate the nearest facility administering Pfizer, go to vaccine.gov/search/ then select Pfizer-BioNTech COVID Vaccine and input your zip code.

The Moderna vaccine has not been submitted for approval, but Emory University will take part in a clinical test of Moderna for children from age 6 months to 11 years.

Helpful non-government web sites:

GoodRx offers a vaccine appointment finder that claims to be updated as often as every five minutes. This might be a good site to check for appointments outside of Atlanta. It’s also a potential source for vaccine sites with extra supply available toward the end of the day. So this site might be useful for people who can travel for an appointment, and those who could quickly get to an unexpected appointment that opened toward the end of the day. GoodRX COVID appointment finder.

Vaccine Finder, operated by Boston Children’s Hospital and supported by the CDC, has a search page for vaccine sites, including clinics and retail stores that offer the vaccines. Vaccine Finder site.

There are several additional vaccines still in various phases of being tested. You can find more information on the three vaccines being used and the other candidates at the CDC.

Please check our interactive map to find current COVID-19 vaccination rates for every Georgia county

How can I find out more about COVID-19 vaccines in metro Atlanta?

There are a number of official resources that you should rely on. Each county has a dedicated resource to help keep its residents updated on local COVID restrictions and vaccination efforts:

In addition, the state has a central site for vaccine information at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine. Georgia residents can also contact DPH at (888) 357-0169 with questions - but the hotline is only for questions, you can not make an appointment to get a vaccine at that number.

If you want more information about the vaccine, the approval process and potential side effects, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine page.

Assistance for seniors

Georgia’s health agencies and the local Area Agencies on Aging are partnering to help older Georgians sign up for vaccines and, if needed, get transportation to their vaccination appointments. To find your local Area Agency on Aging, visit aging.georgia.gov.

What precautions do you need after being vaccinated?

The Atlanta-based CDC said on Thursday, May 13, that fully inoculated people no longer need to wear masks or socially distance in most indoor and outdoor locations unless it’s required by law or local businesses.

Companies have broad latitude to set their own rules for workers and customers in their businesses, though they must still follow guidelines from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Note: you are not fully vaccinated until two weeks after completing your COVID-19 vaccine shots.

The CDC said fully vaccinated people can do the following:

  • You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.

How bad is the pandemic in metro Atlanta right now?

The number of new coronavirus infections in Georgia has been steadily declining since January. Please follow the AJC’s COVID-19 Dashboard for the latest information on the number of cases, deaths and testing across Georgia. The dashboard is updated daily with the latest information from the state.

Correction: This story originally misidentified the partners behind the vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States. One has been developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, while the other has been developed by Moderna. A third vaccine, a one-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, was approved for emergency use in the U.S. on Saturday, Feb. 27.