Kemp said more than 1.75 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Georgia, accounting for about 89% of the state’s supply. He said as supply expands, the state will be able to scale up the four mass vaccination sites and add more locations.
Within the next few days, the governor also plans to expand who can get the vaccine, a group that now includes people over 65, caregivers to the elderly and first-responders such as emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters and police officers.
Chris Stallings, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, said officials were working through minor “hiccups” in the opening of the sites.
“We’re definitely ready to rock and roll this week,” said Stallings.
Kemp said 85% of deaths from COVID-19 have been in the population age 65 and over and that seniors continue to be the urgent focus of vaccination efforts.
The state sites will initially dispense about 22,000 shots per week, Kemp said. The sites, operated by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, are augmenting vaccination sites previously opened by county health departments. The vaccine is also available at doctor’s offices and businesses including Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart, CVS and Walgreens.
Motorists lined up at the Delta Flight Museum near Harstfield-Jackson International Airport Monday morning to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as Georgia opened its first four vaccination sites. (Adrianne Murchison/AJC)
People in line at the Delta Flight Museum said they were grateful for the state locations opening up as they had failed to get the vaccine elsewhere.
Officials greeting drivers outside the gates wouldn’t allow media inside.
Larry Thomas, 71, said he was turned away after walking from his home about five blocks away. Thomas said he heard on the television news this morning that walk-ins could get vaccinated Monday, but he was scheduled for a Thursday appointment at the Delta museum.
“I’m very concerned,” Thomas said about being able to get the vaccine. “I was on standby at Kroger. They’re waiting on more vaccines.”
Caregiver Muzette Printup, 57, drove into the Delta site hoping to receive the vaccine. She landed an appointment for Tuesday at another location in Clayton County, she said.
Nicole Gaines, a Delta flight attendant from Powder Springs, arrived with her mother Rhonda Robinson, 68, who has been on a waitlist with her doctor’s office at Piedmont Hospital.
In Clarkesville, workers steadily screened drivers through eight lanes at the Habersham County Fairgrounds. After answering a few questions from their cars, people were directed to park and sent up a hill to get their vaccines in a building.
While officials were initially concerned with traffic buildup on Toccoa Highway as drivers turned into the Clarkesville site, it wasn’t an issue Monday morning, said Christen Robinson-Kelley, external affairs specialist for GEMA.
”They’re not having any issues or anything like that,” Robinson-Kelley said. “Everyone is going to the different checkpoints, getting the information they need and going through. Everything is moving pretty smoothly.”
As they line up, workers ask drivers to show a QR code received after booking an appointment, as well as identification to prove eligibility.
”If you come to the site and don’t present that QR code, you will be turned away,” Robinson-Kelley said.
GEMA aims to vaccinate 4,400 individuals each day, administering 1,100 doses at each site. The Clarkesville location had administered 816 doses by 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Robinson-Kelley said.
To register to get the vaccine at one of the state’s sites, those who are eligible to receive the vaccine as part of the first phase can pre-register for an appointment and those currently ineligible can sign up for information about when they can get the vaccine at https://myvaccinegeorgia.com/.
Larry Thomas (left) and Muzette Printup were among the Georgians who tried to get vaccinated Monday at the Delta Flight Museum as the state opened its first COVID-19 vaccine locations. (Adrianne Murchison/AJC)