Georgians Now Getting Vaccinated

The process to get the vaccine was safe and efficient with lots of workers there to help you as you moved through the stadium. Video by Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer, Staff Writer

Governor Brian Kemp announced during a press conference on Tuesday, March 23 that all Georgia citizens 16 and older would be eligible for the vaccine starting Thursday, March 25. Although there are still some skeptics toward the vaccine, this news should be exciting for everyone. Dr. Paul Bradley, the Principal Investigator with the Moderna Vaccine trial, says, “Every day you go without a vaccine is a day to catch COVID, another opportunity to catch COVID, and honest to God, I hate to say it, it’s another opportunity to die from COVID;” so it is very good for all Georgians that the vaccine is now widely available. Roswell student Nick Meyer, 9,  says, “It’s exciting now that it feels like we are finally getting closer to getting back to normal. It feels like we’ve been waiting for the vaccine for a long time and now it’s finally here.” 

Kemp had previously said that he hoped to have vaccines available for all adults by early April, so now Georgia is running ahead of schedule in getting vaccinations out, which is uncommon during these crazy times. Georgia is one of only six US states that offer vaccines to anyone 16 and older, but 24 other states have announced dates in the near future on which they will open vaccinations to everyone. 

There are now eight million adults in Georgia, and only one million are already vaccinated, leaving about seven million people newly allowed to get vaccinated, so although vaccinations are now available, it can be tricky to get an appointment scheduled in a timely manner. Here are some tips as to how you can get your vaccine as quick as possible: 

Schedule an appointment early

Governor Kemp says in a press conference, “I want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine. We are seeing this across the country, especially in the South, we are seeing vaccine hesitancy. That is concerning. People should not be concerned. This is a medical miracle. It is our ticket back to normal.” Although the vaccine is open to most Georgians and sites are now busier, there are still available appointments for anyone who wants the vaccine, so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment. If you visit a site to schedule an appointment and it says appointments are all booked for the next month, keep looking. 

Governor Kemp says, “Once that expanded eligibility goes live on Thursday, appointments will no doubt be hard to find in certain regions of our state.” But there are nine state mass vaccination sites that allow for appointments and there are also many independent pharmacies offering the vaccine which may not be getting the same online attention as the major locations.  Click here for a direct link to find a Georgia COVID vaccination site near you.

Be ready to get your second shot

Now that vaccines are availible for most Georgians the state is starting to slowly take off restrictions throughout the state.
Picture by Ashley Meyer

Many sites book a second appointment at the time you get your first shot or promise to send a reminder email, but make sure the website or location you are getting your first shot at does this, as there are some instances in which the individual must schedule second dose appointments on their own. There are also some retail pharmacies, such as CVS, that provide scheduling for second-dose vaccinations only. Sonya Narla, DO, says “The ideal time frame between the first and second Pfizer vaccines is 21 days. For the Moderna vaccines, it’s 28 days” but as you are getting your second dose appointment, don’t stress if you cannot get it exactly 21 or 28 days after the first shot. The CDC advises you can safely get the second dose up to 42 days after your first shot.

Also note that there are three different vaccines available: the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not require a second dose.

Get any vaccine available

There are three vaccines available, but the CDC recommends to get whatever one is first available to you. All COVID-19 vaccines authorized and recommended are safe and effective, so it should not matter which brand you receive, unless you are under 18, as Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for 16-18 year olds. Sandra Fryhofer, MD, says, “Get vaccinated as soon as you can, when it’s your turn, and with whichever vaccine is available. That’s how we’re going to end this pandemic.” Now that all people over 16 are now able to receive the vaccine, finding appointments may be slightly harder, but don’t wait any longer to try and get a certain brand of vaccine. Get your vaccine as soon as possible.