SW Health District begins appointments for expanded list of vaccine recipients

DPH Southwest Health District begins accepting appointments for expanded list of vaccine recipients

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - More Georgians are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Phase 1A includes those aged 65 and older as well as first responders.

On Monday, the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Southwest Health District began accepting appointments for those now eligible to receive the vaccine.

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine. (Source: WALB)

The Southwest Health District director said the phones were ringing a lot Monday. There’s already a substantial amount of appointments on the books.

“We are expecting a large turn out starting next week. We’ve been just a little bit surprised and even disappointed that many healthcare workers in Southwest Georgia and throughout Georgia have decided to delay their vaccinations for COVID-19. And we’re hoping they reconsider,” said Dr. Charles Ruis, the DPH Southwest Georgia Health District director.

Ruis said more than a thousand healthcare workers have been vaccinated district-wide. However, they are expecting a busier vaccination schedule with Phase 1 a.

He said they are ready to meet the demand, including scheduling five days a week and extra hours if needed.

“If we’re going to control this virus, we really need the majority of the public to have immunity,” said Ruis.

Ruis said up to this point, the supply of vaccine has been good.

They are able to order more every week if needed but he said they are being responsible with their orders and are only getting what they believe is sufficient.

“These are challenging times. As I mentioned earlier, this vaccine is new and there’s a learning curve that most of us are experiencing. Getting used to it, taking care of it properly, administering properly. In addition to this, we are seeing a higher number of new cases that we haven’t seen before, and that’s statewide. Actually, in Southwest Georgia, we are better off than many Georgia counties that are in the northern part of the state, but it’s still very busy here,’ said Ruis.

If you are 65 and older or a law enforcement officer, firefighter or first responder, you can schedule an appointment starting Monday through the public health call center hotline at (229) 352-6567.

Georgia Department of Public Health Southwest Health District.
Georgia Department of Public Health Southwest Health District.

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