Georgia lecturers, college workers, and others will be part of the vaccine pool in March

Following a partial state survey that points to lukewarm demand for vaccines from educators, as well as a slight increase in state vaccine supply, Kemp said Georgia is now poised to add significantly to the pool.

ExploreCOVID-19 Immunization Rates for Counties in Georgia

The governor has received tremendous setbacks from teachers and parents who are resentful that most educators in Georgia have not yet received vaccines. He was upset by Kemp’s decision to move people 65 and over from the third vaccination phase to the first and to skip the teachers in “phase 1b” were next in line.

Metro Atlanta’s school system called for it to give priority to teacher vaccinations, as did Democrats and other critics who noted that at least 28 other states have questioned some or all of teachers for the vaccine.

The state allows people aged 65 and over and their carers, first aiders, healthcare workers, and long-term care workers and residents to receive the vaccine. About 57% of the elderly in Georgia have received at least one dose of the vaccine, Kemp said.

Under the new state protocol, educators and staff at K-12 schools are eligible, including those who work in preschools and day care centers. It also includes caregivers for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

New coronavirus guidelines published by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Credit: Employee

Credit: Employee

School districts across Georgia have been preparing to vaccinate their employees for months. Some would like to open their own clinics to administer doses of the vaccine on campus. others hope to work with local health departments and pharmacies.

Teacher groups hailed the news as overdue, despite urging state officials to develop a plan to quickly vaccinate educators and school staff.

“It is important that Governor Kemp has an effective distribution plan in place for this rollout, and many school districts have asked to serve as vaccination sites,” said Craig Harper, executive director of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, which represents thousands of teachers.

The governor said his decision to add to the pool was facilitated by a survey by the state Department of Education last week that found 45% of educators would take the vaccine because the demand was not as high as he expected.

The success of the plan also depends on the hope that government allocations of vaccines will continue to grow. Georgia is now getting about 215,000 first-time vaccine doses a week, up from about 150,000 earlier this month.

Georgian officials are also confident that the one-off coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to soon be approved by federal regulators, will continue to boost state inventories in the coming weeks.

Still, demand far exceeds supply, and many eligible for the vaccine have not been able to find appointments for months. On Monday, Georgia opened four bulk vaccination stations in Albany, Clarkesville, Macon, and Metro Atlanta to dispense thousands of vaccine doses daily, and many of the slots were filled quickly. People can sign up here for information.

In total, Georgia has administered nearly 1.9 million vaccinations. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state has the fifth lowest vaccination rate of any state per 100,000 population and is consistently low in vaccination rates nationwide.

Officials are working hard to vaccinate as much of the population as possible before more contagious strains of the virus set in. They are particularly concerned about Georgians over 60 who make up 85% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths, according to Kemp.

During a press conference in the Capitol, the governor urged Georgians to be patient for vaccinations as the state awaits more vaccinations.

“We will continue to see more demand than supply,” he said.

Staff writer Eric Stirgus contributed to this report.

  • Health care workers
  • Prosecution
  • Firefighters
  • Residents and employees of long-term care facilities
  • People aged 65 and over and their carers
  • Educators and school staff, including pre-school and day care workers
  • Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their carers
  • Parents of children with complex diseases

More information can be found here.

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