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Officials with District 2 Public Health Department ask for patience from public
Phone lines, call center and website overwhelmed due to questions about vaccine
The Georgia Department of Public Health received the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday, Dec. 14 for administration in Georgia. - courtesy Georgia Department of Public Health

 Due to the huge response for the COVID-19 vaccine, the District 2 Public Health Departments’ phone lines, call center and website are overwhelmed.

Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health ask that everyone be patient, saying everyone who wants the vaccine will be given the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Currently, there is a limited supply of vaccine available at a small number of providers. But, as more vaccine is shipped to additional enrolled providers, access to appointments will improve over the days and weeks ahead.

 It is important to remember that it is a two-dose vaccine, given 21 or 28 days apart, depending on the manufacturer. For the Pfizer vaccine, it is 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine is 28 days apart. This means that appointments for the second dose must be scheduled when the first dose is received. This process also places some limits on the speed at which the vaccine can be given.

 GDPH is adding staff to help with vaccine administration, partnering with other health care providers, colleges and universities to use nursing students, paramedics and other health care professionals to help vaccinate residents.

In addition, the health department is scheduling special clinics where larger groups of people can be vaccinated at one time. An announcement will be made about these clinics when staffing is in place and more vaccine is on hand. Appointments will be required.

The special clinics will require larger venues where people can safely social-distance while being vaccinated and then wait the required observation time after being vaccinated.