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All Georgians ages 16+ now eligible for COVID vaccine

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Brian Kemp announced late last week the state would expand its COVID vaccine eligibility beginning March 25, 2021 to include all Georgians ages 16 and older, thanks to the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine.

Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine approved for teens 16- and 17-years-old. At the current time, Emanuel Medical Center only provides the Moderna vaccine, which is only administered to those 18 and older.

To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, log on to or visit CVS, Walgreens, or any GEMA mass vaccination site has the Pfizer vaccine available.

Locally, Emanuel Medical continues to take appointments for the Moderna vaccine. Shots are administered on Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. To make an appointment or for more information, contact either Kathy Peebles or Carmen Tanner at 478-289-1100.

Increased COVID vaccine supply and significant progress in vaccinating Georgia seniors, the most vulnerable population, allows the state to move forward and to ensure all vaccine doses are being put into arms.

Vaccination, along with strict compliance with basic prevention measures—such as wearing a mask, staying six feet from others, avoiding large gatherings, washing your hands frequently—will help Georgia stop the spread of COVID-19.

These measures are critically important as SARs-CoV-2 variants continue to circulate and increase in Georgia. Currently, there are 367 confirmed COVID cases with variants statewide; 351 cases with the UK variant (B.1.1.7), 15 cases with the South Africa variant (B.1.351), and one case with the Brazil variant (P.1). These variants appear to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.

Anyone signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. Follow the advice of your health care provider about what you should do while you wait for your test results. COVID testing not only helps DPH control and mitigate infection, but it also provides valuable information about variants when positive test results are sequenced.

Vaccination requirements have continued to change over the last few months. Two weeks ago, prior to the Pfizer vaccine being made available in Georgia, individuals must have been at least 55-years-old or fit specific medical criteria to be vaccinated. In the earliest days of vaccine availability, individuals must have been 65 or older or be part of the essential workforce to qualify for vaccination.

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