It didn't take long to fill the appointment calendar for COVID-19 vaccinations at District 2 Public Health.
On Wednesday, local public health officials opened up online scheduling for qualified recipients in North Georgia. Earlier today, the appointment calendar for the remainder of January and the month of February were filled.
District 2 Public Health spokesman Dave Palmer said it's both a supply and a personnel issue.
"We are giving vaccines to healthcare, first responders (EMS, Law enforcement, and Fire), long-term care, and people 65 years of age and older. This is a large group of people," Palmer said in an email statement. "In addition, this is a two-dose vaccine. So those people who were vaccinated a few weeks ago are now due for their second dose. These folks have to be scheduled in for the second vaccination."
Palmer also said they're trying to hire temporary staff as the budget allows, so more vaccinations can be administered.
"We have positions posted on our website www.phdistrict2.org for licensed nurses and clerical staff. We encourage anyone who would like to help to apply," Palmer said.
At a press conference at the State Capitol on Friday afternoon, Gov. Brian Kemp said he had issued an executive order to authorize more health care and emergency workers to give vaccinations.
"I issued a new executive order allowing emergency medical technicians and cardiac technicians to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to those who are eligible in Georgia," Kemp said. Along with paramedics, who already had authorization to give the shots, that gives the state another 10,000 workers who can vaccinate.
Kemp said the state right now has the capacity to administer more than 11,000 vaccines per day. However, he pointed out the process to get a COVID vaccine is more time-consuming than other vaccination processes.
"This is not like going in and getting a flu vaccine where you go in, get a quick vaccine in your arm and go back and get in your car and go home," Kemp said. "You know, you've got to give the shot, monitor that person for 15 minutes, there are certain time limits you have to be within to make sure the vaccine is not spoiling. It's just a lot different."
Palmer also encouraged North Georgians to be patient, pointing out many providers who have enrolled for the vaccine have not yet received their allocations.
"When these providers get vaccine, more people can get vaccinated at their health care provider or pharmacy," Palmer said.