ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available, the limited supply, broken websites, busy phones and booked appointments are frustrating thousands of Georgians. Governor Brian Kemp joined health officials for a press conference on January 12, 2021 to address the concerns during their latest update.
Gwinnett County resident Nancy Morrison says her visit to this Lawrenceville Health Center for the COVID-19 vaccine was a long time coming. “For me to be able to get this and get protected against the coronavirus, I am just thrilled. My husband is here, both of us got it,” she said.
She’s a survivor: a double lung transplant and double coronary bypass patient. “We’re really fortunate. Our daughter Diane is the one who stuck with it and kept calling and kept calling,” said Morrison on getting an appointment.
Gov. Kemp and Georgia DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey are giving an update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, after counties were overwhelmed with appointment requests and technical issues. pic.twitter.com/NMjng3QebG
— Valencia E. Jones (@vjreports3) January 12, 2021
Thousands of eligible people are facing the same challenge of getting the vaccine. “There are certainly challenges with getting the vaccine into people’s arms. But we have seen an incredible demand for the vaccine, which I’m very happy about,” said Dr. Audrey Arona, the district health director for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments.
“Yes, the phone lines will be busy. Yes, the website will certainly crash,” said Governor Brian Kemp, reiterating how those issues were expected from the beginning, as there’s more demand than there is vaccine to go around. The state is now allowing people 65 and older to get it as long as it’s available, which adds over a million more Georgians who qualify. “I will continue to ask people to be patient,” Kemp said.
There’s concern of a potential government shortage of vaccines before people can get the required second doses. “Providers have wanted to hold onto the vaccine, which we have told them, do not do,” said Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey. “If they’re holding vaccines, and they’re not giving them, we’re gonna go get them, and give them to people that will give them out,” said Kemp.
They’re also addressing concerns about the new strain of coronavirus. “The good news is, our vaccines will protect us from that variant as well.”
Kemp says states are still waiting on the federal government to release more of the vaccine. As always, they’re asking everyone to continue following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.