Georgia Chamber CEO Chris Clark: The Facts About Vaccine Distribution in Georgia
Friday, December 18th, 2020
2020 has certainly been a year for the books; one that has challenged our health, our thinking, and our collective willpower as a global society. And though there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel with the first vaccines arriving in Georgia, I wanted to briefly address the thousands of inquiries that we are receiving about vaccine distribution in our state.
I think I can speak for everyone when I share how exciting it is to see the first Georgians being inoculated. This major milestone provides much hope. But, as has been proven with every step of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not out of the woods yet and there is still much to be done. Here is what we know thus far, from our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). First, roughly 84,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been deployed to Georgia communities, and even more across the U.S., with front-line healthcare workers and long-term care facilities being prioritized in this initial roll-out. Second, the Pfizer vaccine does require two doses to be effective, and those two doses must be spaced three-to-four weeks out from one another. So keep in mind, that during this vaccination process, patients with the vaccine are still susceptible and should practice safety at all times. Third, the Moderna vaccine should obtain Emergency Use Authorization soon and Georgia will receive around 174,000 doses of this vaccine in the next few weeks and it will be prioritized in the same manner, with the same requirement for two doses.
Now, once healthcare workers and long-term care facilities receive the vaccine, Governor Kemp and Dr. Toomey will then work closely with healthcare providers and the CDC on how its remaining population is prioritized. The Georgia Chamber continues to communicate daily with the Department of Public Health as they develop and finalize the state’s vaccination plan. DPH is waiting on certain guidance from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as well as confirmation on the number of vaccines that the state will actually receive. The link to DPH’s draft plan which offers additional details about essential workers, older adults, and the general population, can also be found on our website at gachamber.com/covid19.
As we remain focused on the vaccine, we are also working closely with Senator Perdue, Senator Loeffler and the Georgia Congressional Delegation on the next round of COVID relief. Passing this vital aid package is critical to our long term economic recovery and we appreciate the bipartisan effort to deliver for our state. For the latest updates and to better understand the new legislation, simply visit our COVID-19 webpage.
Like much of the last few months, this is an evolving situation. The Georgia Chamber remains a committed partner with Governor Kemp and public health entities all over Georgia as we work to deliver real-time information on this critically important development for our safety, our health, and our economy. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to wear your mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands. Let us all do our part to stay safe, enjoy the holidays and usher in a reimagined New Georgia Economy together.