Phoebe expands COVID-19 vaccine administration

Phoebe expands COVID-19 vaccine administration
65-year-olds can call 229-312-1919 to speak with a scheduler to set up an appointment for next week. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney memorial Hospital will begin to vaccinate southwest Georgians who are 65 and older and area law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders next week as the state of Georgia expands the first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations.

So far, Phoebe has only been allowed to vaccinate healthcare workers, but the state is broadening categories of people who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

“We will continue to follow COVID-19 vaccination guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), and we are excited that we can now open vaccinations to more people in southwest Georgia,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer.

Phoebe has set up a COVID-19 vaccine hotline that southwest Georgians who are at least 65 years of age can use to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine. Beginning Thursday at 10:00 a.m., those individuals can call 229-312-1919 to speak with a scheduler to set up an appointment for next week. The hotline will then be open from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Phoebe sees new COVID-19 trends.
Phoebe sees new COVID-19 trends. (Source: WALB)

Phoebe will begin administering those vaccines Monday morning. “Widespread vaccination is the one thing that will put an end to this pandemic. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to be vaccinated, and we encourage everyone to receive a vaccine when they are eligible to do so,” Dr. Grant said.

Walk-ins will NOT be accepted. Only eligible southwest Georgians with scheduled appointments will be allowed to receive the vaccine at Phoebe, and they must bring photo identification to prove they are at least 65 years old. Phoebe will provide community vaccinations at three locations.

  • Albany – Phoebe Healthworks at 311 W. 3rd Ave. Monday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Americus – Phoebe Sumter Medical Center at 126 U.S. Highway 280 West Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Sylvester – Phoebe Worth Medical Center at 807 S. Isabella St. Monday – Thursday, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Those with appointments should enter through the main hospital entrance to check in.

Below are guidelines you should follow, if you qualify for a vaccination and want to schedule a vaccination appointment at Phoebe.

  • If you are not feeling well, wait until you feel better to schedule an appointment.
  • Do not arrive more than 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
  • All vaccine recipients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to vaccination.
  • All vaccine recipients will be required to wear a mask. If they do not have a mask, one will be provided to them.
  • Only one person will be allowed to accompany a vaccine recipient into the check-in and vaccination areas and only if it is medically necessary.
  • If you can’t make your appointment, call the hotline to reschedule.
  • Following the vaccination, all recipients will be required to remain in an observation area for 15 minutes to ensure they do not experience any adverse reaction.
Phoebe officials can now perform rapid test results in their lab.
Phoebe officials can now perform rapid test results in their lab. (Source: Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital)

Appointments will only be scheduled a week at a time because the vaccine supply is uncertain. “We hope to begin to receive regular vaccine shipments over the coming months, but that is not guaranteed. We do, however, want to administer every vaccine we receive as quickly as possible. Phoebe is investing significant resources in this vaccination effort because it is what our community expects and deserves. We are proud to protect our communities by being a source of vaccinations for our part of the state, and we look forward to the day when these efforts defeat this virus once and for all,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President & CEO.

Phoebe has already been providing vaccinations to healthcare workers and area emergency medical services employees who have direct contact with patients. Phoebe is now reaching out to other first responder agencies whose employees qualify for vaccinations under the Phase 1a expansion.

First responders interested in being vaccinated should check with their supervisors. If their agency has not coordinated vaccinations through Phoebe or the health department, they can call the Phoebe COVID-19 vaccination hotline at 229-312-1919 for more information.

Anyone who is not a healthcare worker, first responder, or at least 65 years of age should not try to schedule an appointment at this time. “We are glad that many people in southwest Georgia are anxious to protect themselves and those around them by getting vaccinated, but we must follow the rules set forth by the CDC and state public health department. When people try to schedule vaccination appointments before they are eligible, it only hampers our efforts to vaccinate those who are eligible. We hope to receive more COVID-19 doses from the state so that we can further expand our vaccination efforts. We ask that everyone be patient, and we will let the public know as soon as we are able to offer vaccinations to additional groups of southwest Georgians,” Steiner said.

The City of Albany and Dougherty County have agreed to provide security and logistics assistance, and Dougherty County EMS will staff the post-vaccination observation area. Phoebe is grateful for their willingness to support this community vaccination effort.

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