Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., announced plans on December 30 to add adults aged 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders to the current group of individuals eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1A.
With much of our healthcare community having received their COVID-19 vaccine, the Southeast Health District will now begin scheduling vaccine appointments for those in the expanded definition of Phase 1A. Effective January 11, Phase 1A is defined as healthcare workers in clinical settings, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, all law enforcement and fire personnel and adults aged 65 and older (and their caregivers as applicable). If you are eligible to receive your COVID-19 vaccination within this expanded group, please call 1-855-473-4374 to schedule an appointment. We will be providing COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment only at four mass vaccination clinics located at the health departments in the following counties: Appling, Bulloch, Coffee and Ware. The Georgia Department of Public Health is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). States have the flexibility to tailor these recommendations based on their specific needs and available vaccine.
Leading the way in our public health workforce in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine was Dr. Rosemarie D. Parks, District Health Director for the Southeast Health District. Upon receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Parks stated, “I wanted to be vaccinated to protect myself and those around me who are at risk. This simple act can have such an impact on the health of individuals and those with whom they come into contact.” When asked about any discomfort, Dr. Parks remarked, “It did not even hurt! It was like I blinked, and we were finished.” Her experience is much like others across our district who have had positive vaccine experiences.
Additional public health staff receiving their COVID-19 vaccine since December 23 include Derek Jones, Chief Operating Officer; Trevor Thomas, Infectious Disease Coordinator and Emergency Preparedness Director; Cindi Hart, District Nursing Director; Kay Davis, Assistant Clinical Coordinator and Immunization Coordinator; and Pam Carter, Women’s Health Coordinator and WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator, among additional district and county staff.
The majority of our healthcare community and providers have also been vaccinated across our sixteen-county health district, and this effort is continuing as those in this expanded definition will have the opportunity to be vaccinated as well. COVID-19 vaccine information will continue to be communicated through various avenues, including additional state and local press releases, the Georgia Department of Public Health website (dph.ga.gov), our Southeast Health District Facebook page, our county-specific Facebook pages and our Southeast Health District website (www.sehdph.org).