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DPH South Health District prepares to vaccinate teachers

If you fall into the added group of Phase 1A+ for the COVID-19 vaccine, you can go ahead and...
If you fall into the added group of Phase 1A+ for the COVID-19 vaccine, you can go ahead and schedule an appointment.(WALB)
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 9:42 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - If you fall into the added group of Phase 1A+ for the COVID-19 vaccine, you can go ahead and schedule an appointment.

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) South Health District (SHD) expects more people will request vaccines as more people are allowed to receive the shot.

SHD said it is also working with schools to vaccinate teachers.

“We do have plans in place with several schools around the district that we’re working with them to find the best way to vaccinate their teachers. For some schools, that may be us coming to them, for other schools, that may be them coming to us. But we’re working with each school system to try to figure out what the best plan for them is,” said Kristin Patten, the public information officer for the South Health District.

Starting Monday, educators and staff in pre-K, kindergarten through 12th grade or those licensed in childcare programs can get vaccinated.

Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers and parents of children with complex medical conditions will also be able to get vaccinated.

“We know that once the expansion opens up, that they’ll likely cause delays in appointment availability,” said Patten.

Patten encourages those in the current phase to book appointments soon. When the expansion goes into effect, demand will be higher.

Currently, district-wide, they’ve given more than 18,000 vaccines.

In Lowndes County, more than 26,000 vaccines have been administered. That’s across all providers, including hospitals, private medical offices and pharmacies.

Patten said out of those, about 11,000 have their second dose. She said less than 10 percent of the county population is fully vaccinated.

The district also expects to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We know that we’re expected to get it, that’s what the state is telling us, that we will get it. We also know that the Governor announced that that’s going to be prioritized for educators, that way those individuals won’t have to wait and we are able to provide those vaccines,” said Patten.

Patten said they’re not sure when they’ll receive the first shipment.

“We’re very excited to be able to vaccinate more people, that’s all we want to do, be able to offer the vaccines and we know with Johnson & Johnson coming on, that it’ll up our supply. So we’re excited about that, anything we can do to get more vaccines in arms is what we want to do,” said Patten.

Appointments through a local health department can be scheduled by calling the COVID-19 Hotline at (844) 955-1499. The COVID-19 Hotline is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are also available through many area hospitals and pharmacies. To find a location near you visit the DPH Vaccine Locator.

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