According to the CDC, Georgia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
“We are behind. We are well behind,” said Ben Lopman, Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University. “If we want to get this epidemic under control, the vaccine has to get rolled out, and the fact that we have this supply that’s not being used is what concerns me. There are thousands of doses of the vaccine that have been shipped to Georgia and many of them haven’t been administered. “
Georgia’s Department of Health, reports more than 2.3 million doses of vaccine have been administered, but the state has received almost 2.9 million doses.
“The question now is why do we still have this surplus of doses on hand and does that account for the reasons why we have such a low vaccination rate in our population,” said Epidemiologist Dr. Amber Schmidtke.
Gov. Brian Kemp defended the state’s vaccine rollout at a news conference on Monday. He said the state is doing better than average when it comes to vaccinating people 65 and older. Kemp said about 64% of that population has been vaccinated in Georgia. According to the CDC, the national average for vaccinating people 65 and older is about 59%.
The state opened four mass vaccination sites last month. Five more sites are scheduled to open later in March. The current vaccination sites are: Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the Albany Georgia Forestry Site, the Delta Air Lines Museum in Hapeville, the Habersham County Fair Grounds in Clarkesville, the Macon Farmer’s Market, the Columbus Civic Center, Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, the LakePoint Sports Complex in Cartersville, the Mall at Waycross Shopping Center and Word of Life Church in Sandersville.
Most major pharmacies, including Kroger, CVS, Walmart, Ingles, Walgreens and Sam’s Club also are providing the vaccine as well as county health departments. See the full list of vaccination providers HERE.
Starting March 8, several new groups of people were added to the list of people who qualify for vaccines under current state guidelines.
Persons Eligible effective March 8
- Educators and staff (Pre-K, K-13, DECAL licensed or exempt childcare programs)
- Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers
- Parents of children with complex medical conditions