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Georgia school districts, health officials prepare for educator vaccinations

Posted at 6:26 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 18:26:37-05

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — Registration opened Friday for South Georgia teachers to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.

South District Health administrators said 1,500 educators have shown interested in being vaccinated. Those eligible can visit the health department, some local pharmacies and South Georgia Medical Center starting Monday.

The health department experienced a shortage of vaccines in January but said they do not expect that to happen as teachers begin getting their shots with Johnson and Johnson's vaccine now on the market.

"The plan across the state is that the Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be dedicated to teachers so that should alleviate some of that delay and lack of supply," said Kristin Patten, South Health District Public Information Officer.

In Grady County, school employees also have three options to receive their vaccines.

Superintendent Kermit Gilliard said many teachers have already taken advantage of the opportunity to pre-register.

"Because of that and that desire to go ahead and get it, some have already made appointments to get it earlier in the week at the pharmacy or the health department."

Shots will be available at two Grady County pharmacies. The Health Department will offer teacher vaccines Wednesday and Thursday afternoons as well as all day Friday, and Grady General Hospital will host a drive-by clinic March 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Gilliard said the timing of the shots is key.

"Having the first dose on Friday means that we would get the second dose on Friday," Gilliard said, "and we’ve heard that there can be some people having side effects. So we didn’t want to have 200 people with side effects on a Wednesday, and have 200 educators out of work because we would have difficulty covering classes."

ABC 27 also spoke with leaders in Thomas County. They will have vaccination clinics available at each of their schools and the board office every day next week, but appointment space is limited.