Georgia launches COVID-19 vaccine hotline

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The state of Georgia has launched a new hotline to answer some questions from the public about coronavirus vaccines. Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the state’s top doctor, said the hotline will provide Georgia residents with. information about the vaccine rollout, including when people will be eligible to get inoculated, and where they can find a provider when the time comes. The state Department of Public Health does not yet have dates certain for the next phases of vaccine distribution. Toomey, at a press briefing this week in Gainesville, urged Georgians to take the vaccine when they are eligible for their own protection and to protect family and friends. The hotline is , 1-888-357-0169

The state of Georgia has launched a new hotline to answer some questions from the public about coronavirus vaccines.

Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the state’s top doctor, on Monday said the state Department of Public Health (DPH) is fielding a high volume of calls from Georgians seeking basic information about the vaccines and the state’s vaccination plan.

Toomey said the hotline will provide Georgia residents with information about the vaccine rollout, including when people will be eligible to get inoculated, and where they can find a provider when the time comes. DPH does not yet have dates certain for the next phases of vaccine distribution.

Representatives can also provide information about the differences between the two vaccines that have so far received federal emergency use authorization and about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy data, Toomey said.

The hotline is 1-888-357-0169.

The hotline is a companion to the DPH vaccine webpage at www.dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

The webpage, which published earlier this month, also includes articles on safety and effectiveness and a dashboard of data for current vaccine doses administered and the state’s allotment of doses.

COVID-19 vaccines started arriving in Georgia about two weeks ago, with the first doses administered to first responders and frontline health workers. This week, the state announced the start of vaccinations through pharmacy giants CVS Health and Walgreens at hundreds of long-term care facilities statewide.

The supply of vaccine is currently limited and will not be made available to the general public for months. To date, Pfizer has shipped about 126,000 doses and Moderna has shipped about 170,000 doses, state data as of Monday show.

Nancy Nydam, a DPH spokeswoman, said the state is currently in Phase 1A of its vaccine rollout, following federal guidelines. This phase includes frontline health workers and residents and staff of long-term care homes.

Nydam said DPH and its partners and health care providers “are developing plans for notification to the public when the COVID-19 vaccine is available to them and where they can get vaccinated.”

DPH expects public notice will include news briefings, via state websites, advertising and outreach through community and faith groups.

Toomey, at a press briefing this week in Gainesville, urged Georgians to take the vaccine when they are eligible for their own protection and to protect family and friends.

“For those who are hesitant about the vaccine, the data look wonderful,” Toomey said. “The data from the vaccine look very, very good and the safety record is very, very good.”

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