ATLANTA (WALB) - The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is launching a vaccine dashboard that will track the number of providers enrolled to give vaccines, allocations, and shipments from vaccine manufacturers and vaccines administered. The dashboard will reflect the previous day’s totals and will be updated Monday through Friday at 6 p.m., according to DPH.
The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to Moderna for its COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18.
Georgia’s first allocation of Moderna vaccine is 174,000 doses and shipments are expected to begin arriving Tuesday through Wednesday. These shipments will be sent directly to providers.
DPH is also anticipating the second allocation of 60,000 Pfizer vaccine doses this week, of which, 20,000 will be set aside for long-term care facilities and specifically skilled nursing facilities to begin vaccination on Dec. 28. Most long-term care facilities in Georgia are working with CVS and Walgreens on vaccine administration to residents and staff.
DPH officials said Pfizer only ships Sunday through Thursday to avoid vaccine arriving over the weekend when some facilities are closed and to avoid issues for facilities without ultracold storage that are using dry ice for temperature control. The remaining 10,000 doses of vaccine from the first Pfizer allocation of 84,000 will arrive at facilities Tuesday.
There are more than 537,000 healthcare workers in Georgia, and as of Friday, the state had received approximately 72,000 doses of vaccine. With the expected Moderna shipment and second allocation of Pfizer vaccine, that number will more than quadruple over the next several days, providing greater access to vaccine for more healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
It is up to each provider to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for prioritizing vaccination among their staff, as well as adhering to the vaccine provider agreement they signed when they enrolled as a provider. This will help ensure that vaccine is administered first to those healthcare workers in direct contact with COVID-19 patients or those who handle COVID-19 materials, DPH officials said.
As both Pfizer and Moderna are able to ramp up the production of vaccines in the coming days and weeks, supply should better meet the demand for each phase of allocation and administration, DPH officials said.
“Until that time, providers and the public are urged to be patient as we work together to get vaccines distributed in the most efficient and equitable way possible,” DPH officials said.
The criteria for allocating vaccine is based, first and foremost, on supply and shipping, neither of which DPH controls. DPH does use the following criteria for allocation of vaccine to providers:
- Number of individuals within a defined group (phase) to be immunized
- Previous allocations of vaccine doses received
- Number of doses used from the previous allocation
- Ultracold storage capacity and ability to use a large number of doses versus smaller may determine Pfizer versus Moderna allocation
- Geographic considerations and access in rural/underserved areas of Georgia
Healthcare workers have several options for getting vaccinated:
- Health care workers affiliated with a health care system (hospital, clinic, or private practice) or pharmacy should contact their respective facilities about the process for vaccinating eligible employees.
- Health care workers with access to a community hospital or pharmacy can seek vaccination there.
- Health care workers without access to these facilities – including those who have started the enrollment process to become a COVID-19 vaccine administration site but have not yet been approved – should contact their district health office for vaccination.
All Georgians are urged to continue to follow basic COVID-19 prevention measures: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and follow the guidance of Public Health and the guidelines in Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive order.