Covid vaccine eligibility expanded to all Georgians over 16

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Covid vaccine eligibility is now expanded to everyone over 16-years-old in Georgia. Vaccination sites say they’re prepared for the increase in patients.

It’s been a month since the mass vaccination site opened across the state. Kerry Futch serves as site commander for the Macon mass vaccination site.

Futch says the first day of expanded eligibility is slower than usual. However, they have prepared for incoming appointments.

“We’ve got extra lanes that we can open up, we have a traffic flow pattern that we can set in place to assist with the traffic off of Eisenhower,” Futch said.

Dawn Ross works as the chief clinical informatics officer for Atrium Health Navicent. She says appointments filled up earlier than they normally do on the first day of expanded eligibility.

“First of all our potential volume is going to increase because more people qualify, and it means that we can end the pandemic sooner,” Ross said.

So far, Futch says more than 27,000 people have received the vaccine. They haven’t seen anyone with serious side effects and most people report feeling fine afterward. He says they hope to vaccinate more people.

“We have plenty of time slots available, and we have the nurses and the staff on-site to accommodate as many as we can,” Futch said.

Ross says side effects are commonly confused with how your body is supposed to react. She says you want your body to build a response after getting vaccinated because it shows your body is building immunity. She encourages everyone to get vaccinated.

“I understand being nervous, it seems very new. But the vaccine is well tested, millions of people have received it now,” Ross said. “It’s studied, it’s safe, and you should get one.”

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are for people 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is for anyone 16 and older.

Both vaccination sites say 16 and 17 year old’s need to come with a parental guardian to sign a consent form. Futch says if you have questions about the vaccine you should talk to a healthcare professional.

“Talk to your doctor, your primary care physician, discuss it with them and it’s mainly your decision,” Futch said.

Ross says she’s seen Atrium Health Navicent’s vaccination program grow from “what if’s” to the major mass vaccination sites that are now running. She says she’s excited to be a part of the effort to end the pandemic.

“I can’t wait to leave my mask somewhere else than my face and gather with friends and things like that,” Ross said. “So I say it’s researched, it’s safe, come get it, and let’s get back to normal, let’s end this thing.”

How to sign up for a vaccine appointment

  • For the mass vaccination sites, you can go to myvaccinegeorgia.com
    • Mass vaccination sites currently have the Pfizer vaccine
    • Or you can call 844-274-5388
    • If you’re scheduling for your second dose you can call 844-274-9841
  • To schedule with Atrium Health Navicent you can go to CovidSafeGA.org
    • There are appointments available for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines
Categories: Bibb County, COVID-19, Featured, Health, Local News, Medical

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