Vaccine eligibility expanding to all Georgians 16 and older this week

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Georgia is one of the latest states to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults.

Governor Brian Kemp made the announcement Tuesday afternoon that all Georgians 16 years and older will be to make appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine starting this Thursday, March 25.

As the Peach State gets ready to open vaccine eligibility to all Georgians, Kemp says this expansion is due to a continued rise in vaccine supply and enough older adults being vaccinated.

“We prioritized our seniors for two months. Once the most vulnerable Georgians had every opportunity to be vaccinated and supply increase, we would have to expand eligibility quickly in order ensure every dose available to us is administered quickly,” Kemp said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson, who received the Johnson & Johnson shot last week, says the sooner every Georgian who wants the shot can be vaccinated, the better.

“It means perhaps by summer we’ll be able to get back to a very close, something that very closely resembles our normal. So, if you’re ready for college football, if you’re ready for baseball, you want to go to stadiums, I just urge people to continue to be vigilant. Go ahead and continue to wear the masks and when you are eligible to take that vaccine, go do it,” Henderson said.

Both Henderson and Kemp are urging all Georgians to sign up.

“Once that expanded eligibility goes live on Thursday, appointments will no doubt be hard to find in certain regions of our state. We will continue to shift doses to areas with the highest demand as we have for the last few weeks,” said Kemp.

Georgia has administered 3.2 million vaccine doses with nearly 2.1 million Georgians getting at least one dose. Georgia received more than 450,000 vaccines this week and the governor is expecting an increase in both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson doses next week.

Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for teens 16 and 17 years old. The Georgia Department of Public Health encourages Georgians to schedule an appoint at CVS or Walgreens or one of GEMA’s mass vaccine sites to make sure the Pfizer vaccine is available.

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