Northwest Georgia may receive its first vaccine shipment of Pfizer vaccine this week. Supply will be very limited and earmarked for healthcare providers (hospitals primarily) who have completed the vaccine-provider enrollment process.
County health departments will eventually play an important part in vaccine distribution in Northwest Georgia and have been planning for that role, but we do not know when we receive any vaccine. We do know that because of complex storage issues, we will not be able to offer the Pfizer vaccine and will only be able to provide the Moderna vaccine, which isn’t yet being shipped. We will evaluate the feasibility of providing other vaccines as they become available.
Who will get vaccinated first?
Vaccinations will be given to priority groups right away — healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Vaccine supply and availability may be sporadic initially, and initial shipments will likely not be enough to cover these two priority groups.
As more vaccine becomes available, additional groups like essential workers and people at high risk of serious illness will be added.
We wish we had enough vaccine available to immunize everyone right now, but it will probably late spring or early summer 2021 before vaccine is available to the general public.
When can I get vaccinated?
There is no fixed timeline for vaccine availability and distribution in Georgia. To distribute a vaccine, Georgia’s plan details four phases for vaccinations:
- Phase one: Healthcare workers, first responders, and people over 60 with multiple underlying conditions making them high risk.
- Phase two: School and childcare workers, essential workers (such as truck drivers, grocery, and food processing workers), homeless shelter and jail staff, anyone 60 and older, and people under 60 with significant underlying conditions.
- Phase three: People 16 to 30 and those in industries with moderate exposure risk (for example hairstylists and restaurant employees).
- Phase four: Anyone else for whom the vaccine is recommended.
When you can get vaccinated will depend on vaccine supply and in which phase you are eligible for immunization.