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Georgia Health Department’s South Health District prepared for vaccine release


SOUTH GEORGIA (WCTV) – The Georgia Department of Public Health says it is working diligently to prepare the state for the arrival and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Although DPH acknowledges the exact arrival date for the vaccine hasn’t been determined as of Wednesday, its South Health District is ready to begin distribution as soon as it receives the first shipment of the vaccine.

DPH says initially, the allotment of the vaccine will be limited nationwide. The South Health District says it’s unsure how many vaccines it will get once it is approved.

Because of this uncertainty, DPH says it will follow a tiered approach in distribution, in order to make sure those with the highest risk to the virus will access the vaccine first.

“South Health District has plans in place that will allow us to open vaccination sites at a few or all of our health departments as well as various other locations throughout the district if needed,” said District Health Director Dr. William R. Grow. “Our clinical and emergency preparedness staff have been working closely to ensure that, once vaccine sites are able to open, the process of getting a vaccine will be as smooth as possible for the residents of our district.”

The district says vaccine distribution within its 10 counties will happen through public health and select private providers, like area hospitals.

Select providers within the district have registered as distribution sites, while others have not, according to DPH. Individuals are recommended to contact their private provider to see if they have the vaccine before arriving for vaccination.

“Georgia DPH, in collaboration with other agencies such as GEMA, Office of the Fire and Insurance Commissioner, Department of Community Health, Department of Behavioral Health and Disability, are working closely together to ensure that the distribution efforts are executed as quickly and smoothly as possible,” the press release says.

Georgia DPH is reminding the public to follow these guidelines:

  • Practice social distancing – keep at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.
  • Wash your hands – use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% alcohol) if soap and water aren’t readily available.
  • Wear a mask – The CDC recommends the use of face masks or simple cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially where social distancing is difficult to maintain (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.).
  • Answer the call –  If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, public health will call you and ask you to self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the day that you were exposed. Do your part to keep your family and your community safe: answer the call to slow the spread.
  • Get your flu shot ­- Due to the similarities between flu and COVID, it is more important this year than ever to get your flu shot. Every individual over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine – not just for their own protection, but to protect others around them who may be more vulnerable to the flu and its complications.

The district says free COVID-19 testing is available in all 10 of its counties. Follow this link to find a testing site near you.

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