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

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Millions more Georgians eligible for COVID-19 vaccine today

Credit: WSBTV Videos

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

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. But the FDA on April 13 recommended a pause in use of this vaccine while scientists look into six reported cases of a rare type of blood clot.

All Georgians age 16 and older are now eligible for the COVID vaccine. This comes after Georgia expanded from phase 1a+ of the distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccines to include anyone over 55 and anyone who has a medical condition that is deemed high risk by the CDC on March 15.

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:

Large state-run vaccine centers switch to second vaccine push: The state of Georgia’s big vaccination facilities are shifting to single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots and providing second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. As of May 3, the Johnson and Johnson vaccines are available at these nine sites without appointments. A list of the state-run vaccine centers is below on this page.

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.

UPDATE: The FEMA-supported COVID vaccine site at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is open for appointments from March 24 to May 19. It is one of the sites available through the Department of Public Health at gta-vras.powerappsportals.us. The Mercedes-Benz site will have the capacity give 6,000 vaccines a day, including weekend and evening appointment times.

Walk-ups accepted: The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is offering first or second shots of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine without an appointment. To get the latest on when the walk-ups are accepted, go here.

Please be considerate: If you sign up for more than one appointment, go back and cancel before the appointment if you are not going to use it. Otherwise, you might keep someone else from getting an appointment or cause a dose to go to waste.

Crowd sourcing: Because the process is potentially confusing, unofficial groups and individuals are using Facebook and other social media to help people find appointments. One example is the Georgia Vaccine Hunters Facebook group, which numbers more than 7,000 members. Up to 100 people post daily, desperate to get a vaccine, sharing stories, tips, frustration and joy. Georgia Vaccine Hunters Facebook group.

For teens and young adults

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is now vaccinating eligible teens and young adults ages 16 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). Read more.

For children and teens up to age 15

On May 10, the FDA approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 to 15. 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.

Dr. B is described as an online vaccine standby list. Registration is required. It notifies registered users of standby COVID vaccine appointments near them. Dr. B web site.

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.

ExploreFollow AJC news updates about COVID-19 vaccines in Georgia

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.

ExploreHow many people have been vaccinated in Georgia?

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.

State-run vaccine centers

UPDATE: The state-run mass vaccination sites are scheduled to close in late May 2021. The state-run facilities are shifting to single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots and providing second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

  • First doses of Pfizer vaccine will no longer be administered at the state-operated sites after Friday, April 30.

Beginning March 17, the state will have 9 mass-vaccine sites across Georgia. To register for appointments, at the following sites, visit myvaccinegeorgia.com

  • Atlanta: The Delta Flight Museum outside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
  • Albany: The Albany Georgia Forestry Commission in southwest Georgia
  • Habersham County: The Habersham County Fairgrounds in Clarkesville
  • Macon: The Macon Farmers Market.

On March 17, additional state vaccine sites opened in Bartow, Chatham, Muscogee, Ware and Washington counties.

  • Bartow County: LakePoint Sports, Emerson
  • Chatham County: Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah
  • Columbus-Muscogee County: Columbus Civic Center
  • Ware County: The Mall at Waycross, Waycross
  • Washington County: Word of Life Church, Sandersville

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.

ExploreWhy you shouldn't take painkillers before your COVID-19 vaccination

What precautions do you need after being vaccinated?

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on March 8 that people who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus can gather with those who are at low risk for COVID without masks, but they should still cover their faces in public.

The CDC said fully vaccinated people can do the following:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19. READ MORE

How bad is the pandemic in metro Atlanta right now?

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.

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