Ga. governor announces expansion of COVID vaccine distribution | #dating | #elderly | #seniors
The state will also include law enforcement, first responders and firefighters in the expansion.
ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, along with Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey, announced plans on Wednesday night to expand COVID-19 vaccinations to adults ages 65 and older, as well as law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders across the state.
Healthcare workers along with staff and residents of long-term care facilities are already at the highest level and receiving coronavirus vaccinations.
Kemp said that he will provide additional details at a news conference scheduled for 9 a.m., Thursday. 11Alive.com will stream live coverage.
The expanded administration of the vaccine is expected to begin within the next two weeks, provided there is adequate supply, according to Wednesday night’s releases from the governor and the Department of Public Health.
According to Kemp’s release, the DPH is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for prioritizing vaccinations across the state.
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Individual states have been granted the flexibility to tailor the recommendations based on their specific needs and available vaccine.
“Following the expert guidance of Dr. Toomey, the CDC, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Georgia will move to expand Phase 1a vaccination criteria within the next two weeks to include the elderly, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders – provided the state continues to receive adequate vaccine supplies,” Kemp said in the release. “We will continue to monitor the administration efforts of our public health workers and partners in the private sector, and the supply chain of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to ensure eligible Georgians are vaccinated without delay.”
According to Toomey, different areas of the state are completing Phase 1a at different times, based on the number of healthcare workers and long-term residence facility residents and staff they need to vaccinate.
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“This expansion of 1a eligible vaccination criteria will allow vaccine to be administered as quickly as possible to our most at-risk populations in terms of exposure, transmission and severity,” Toomey said in the release. “It also gives healthcare providers and public health staff time to plan and work with local communities across the state to ensure safe and efficient deployment of limited vaccine supplies.”
Both Toomey and Kemp emphasized that mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing must still be practiced, even after individuals are vaccinated.
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While the vaccine is up to 95% effective in preventing illness for those being vaccinated, it is not yet known if it fully prevents person-to-person transmission or asymptomatic infections.