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What you need to know ahead of Georgia vaccine expansion

Posted at 5:34 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 17:34:47-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Georgia vaccine clinics are opening up eligibility to people 16 and up Thursday. Health leaders at South Georgia Medical Center believe expanding vaccine eligibility Thursday is a game changer.

SGMC Pharmacist Jodi Johnson said they're prepared for the increased demand, ready to give out at least 750 shots a day at its drive-thru site.

"We have plenty of vaccines so we're asking everyone to support our community for immunity," said Johnson.

One of the most important things will be making sure the right people end up at the right places when it comes to getting vaccinated. Right now, the hospital has all three vaccine types: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

Something to keep in mind when getting your appointment, Pfizer is the only one approved for ages 16-18. Johnson said they're looking forward to giving more doses to younger people so they don't infect the more vulnerable populations.

"It's very important that the younger people in our community get vaccinated so we can stop the spreader to older members of our community and sicker populations especially with Spring and Spring Break," said Johnson. "It's very important that we all protect ourselves."

County and Public Health locations only have J&J and Moderna. Georgia Public Health Officer Courtney Sheeley said they are already booked through March but they're looking forward to helping distribute shots to more people soon.

"We have seen a decline in the number of people that were calling and getting appointments so we're excited that now it's open because a lot of the people that have been wanting it can now get it," said Sheeley.

Sheeley said there are some exceptions for adults living out-of-state looking to get a shot.

"We can vaccinate anyone that lives in Florida, Alabama if they work in Georgia or if they have another residence in Georgia. Those are some of the exclusions. But normally we try to stick to residents," said Sheeley.

SGMC's drive-thru clinic is open Monday through Thursday. Click here for more information.

While you can't register for a shot at Public Health right now, there are still spots for Tuesday's mobile clinic at the Lowndes County Civic Center. To register, call (844) 955-1499.