Georgia expands vaccine eligibility
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Governor Kemp is expanding the vaccine eligibility. Starting Monday people over the age of 55 and people with disabilities and certain medical conditions can get the vaccine.
Medical conditions that are eligible for vaccination
- Cerebrovascular Disease
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Heart Conditions
- Immunocompromised state
- Liver Disease
- Neurologic Conditions
- Overweight and Obesity
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Sickle Cell Disease
Michael Hokanson is the Public Information Officer with North Central Health District. He says these groups are more vulnerable to complications caused by Covid-19.
“Them having the opportunity to become vaccinated against this virus will definitely ease the burden on both the healthcare system and on that person’s mind,” said Hokanson.
Julie Hall is the Director of Aging for the Middle Georgia Regional Commission and Area Agency on Aging. Her agency helps seniors schedule their vaccine appointments. They also offer transportation if needed.
“We hear a need and we want to help and that’s what we do and we just see it as an extension of the services we would normally provide to our older adults,” said Hall.
Dr. Sandy Duke is Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer with Atrium Health Navicent. He says they have partnered with agencies like the Area Agency on Aging to get people vaccines. He says they are excited to be apart of the solution to ending the pandemic.
“We’re starting to get more allocation and we are now able to offer it at two locations,” says Dr.Duke. “We have the potential to vaccinate several hundred people every day.”
Hokanson says it’s too early to tell if vaccines are causing the number of Covid cases to decrease. He says it could be attributed to fewer people getting tested. He urges people to get tested if they’re exhibiting symptoms or they think they’ve been exposed.
“Don’t put it off. Don’t say well I don’t want to be put in quarantine or isolation,” said Hokanson. “If you believe you should be tested for Covid you should definitely go and seek testing.”
Hokanson points out that people ages 16 and up with underlying medical conditions are eligible for a Covid vaccine. He says currently the only vaccine for people ages 16 and 17 is the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is for people over the age of 18.
“The GEMA mass vaccination sites utilize the Pfizer vaccine in their operations,” said Hokanson. “Public Health here in our 13 county district uses the Moderna vaccine.”
Dr. Duke and Hokanson say people should still follow current CDC guidelines even after getting fully vaccinated. That guidance instructs that those who are fully vaccinated can gather without masks in small groups.
“I would refer you to DPH’s website or CDC’s website to follow the ever-changing guidelines related to social distancing and masking,” said Dr. Duke.