Following weekend confusion, Tuesday’s COVID-19 vaccination event in Carroll County went smoothly as distribution hiccups are being felt statewide.
The Georgia Department of Public Health fulfilled over 800 COVID-19 vaccine appointments Tuesday, and DPH District 4 Emergency Preparedness Deputy Director Yesenia Arreguin said that the event went well.
On the campus of the University of West Georgia, cars were lined up to receive their vaccine starting at 9 a.m. Those with an appointment confirmed their name on a list and were directed one way. Those without an appointment were directed away by law enforcement who were assisting the event.
For those who had an appointment, Arreguin said she believes it went well. After confirming their name on the list, patients were directed to a vaccine station, where health officials were ready with syringes of the Moderna vaccine.
As they were given their vaccine, an administrator was there to hand them their vaccine card, which would say which vaccine they received and when they needed their second dose.
After that, they were directed to a parking lot to wait 15 minutes in order to monitor the after-effects of the vaccine.
For those who did not have an appointment, they will have to wait for another shipment.
District 4 spokesperson Hayla Folden said that as of Tuesday afternoon, officials are “not exactly sure yet” if there will be a waitlist to sign up for or not.
But moving forward, Arreguin said that she expects things to run even smoother now that this first event has been completed.
“I mean honestly, I think moving forward it’s going to go a lot smoother. Anytime we have that first event, we’re trying to figure things out,” said Arreguin. “We’re still learning as we’re doing it.”
The Times-Georgian received numerous communications regarding the confusion surrounding the vaccine distribution. Over the weekend, the online forum to sign up for an appointment was removed due to how quickly the slots filled up.
Arreguin said that she believes the issue was that with the first advertisement of the event an appointment was not required. Arreguin said that moving forward, all events will require appointments.
“I think that’s going to minimize people showing up without an appointment,” said Arreguin.
Statewide, hiccups were felt on distribution as Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday that officials could be better about communication and data reporting, as he believes that they are under-reporting data.
“Local health departments are receiving high volumes of requests. With very limited appointments, phone systems as you can imagine are busier than ever,” said Kemp, speaking in Atlanta.
Demand is high in some areas for the vaccine and Kemp said that he is committed to helping local health departments keep up.
“We have things that we need to do better on our end. We need to do a better job of reporting, we need to do a better job of making sure that we’re communicating with the public and answering the phones and that the folks at local level are getting the appointment set up,” said Kemp.
Kemp said that as of Tuesday, Georgia has administered 24.48% of the vaccines delivered to the state by the federal government and that the state now has the capacity to administer 11,428 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines per day.