Georgia governor expands Phase 1A vaccine distribution group to include teachers

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 10:04 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Georgia teachers have been pushing the governor for vaccine eligibility, and now they are added into the current Phase 1A vaccine distribution plan.

Teachers along with parents of sick children, and adults with developmental disabilities, as well as their caregivers, now join people n the Phase 1A to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have been anticipating that and working with our local Department of Health to develop a plan,” said Muscogee County School District superintendent, Dr. David Lewis.

Lewis says school nurses within the district are in the process of being certified to administer the vaccine to those in the district who wish to take it.

“We feel like the vaccine is critically important for peace of mind for our teachers and school staff. They are important to keep teachers in the classrooms,” he said.

For some, the news of the expansion means more worrying about supply-and-demand issues with the COVID-19 vaccines.

“We will just have more people to get to. We will try to get to everyone as soon as we can,” said Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department.

Manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine say production is expected to increase in the coming weeks and the federal government is already steadily increasing weekly vaccine shipments to Georgia.

In the meantime, Kirkland says they are looking to increase help for administering the vaccine.

“Meaning people who are certified to give the vaccine so we can continue to provide the services we offer every day,” Kirkland said.

The new group of people added will be able to start receiving vaccines March 8.

Columbus resident James Meriwether says he sees the supply and demand issues with the vaccine but says overall, the expansion helps others who need the vaccine have access to it.

“If we only worry about ourselves, we could be the only ones left on the planet with that type of thinking,” Meriwether said.

The news of the expansion comes just a day after the FDA gave company Johnson & Johnson its endorsement for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. If the FDA approves this vaccine, it could help increase the amount of Georgian’s who can get a dose.

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