Finding the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia: Impossible or just not looking in the right spot?

ATLANTA — As Georgia prepares to become the third state in the country to open coronavirus vaccine appointments to all adults, Channel 2 Action News is hearing concerns from metro Atlantans who are spending hours and sometimes even days searching for their next appointment.

Channel 2 Action News has learned that Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to announce Tuesday that all adult Georgians will soon be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

While the news may bring relief to many Georgians, some are questioning how much more difficult it will become to get an appointment.

[Q&A: How can I book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Georgia? Which shots are available?

Lisa Rich-Milan and her husband, Tracey, are already fully vaccinated, but they told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden that their daughter, Brianna, who helps take care of her grandparents, hasn’t had any luck yet with booking her second appointment at a Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security site or private pharmacy.

“It’s been very difficult to get in to get scheduled for the second,” Rich-Milan said. “We cannot register her for the second Pfizer vaccine, and that’s concerning. We were trying to get to the CVS or Kroger’s of the world and couldn’t get in to either one.”

The vaccine is here, but many Channel 2 Action News viewers have had a hard time booking appointments.

There are three main websites to check for vaccines:

Seiden also contacted several area pharmacies on Monday. And although it took some patience, he eventually reached a real person who could give some guidance on the best times to search for an appointment.

“The vaccines are effective, safe, and we’re beginning to see more and more impact in terms of them targeting, particularly the vulnerable population,” said Joshua S. Weitz with Georgia Tech.

The state’s anticipated expansion comes at a time when data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Georgia is vaccinating residents at one of the slowest paces in the nation.

But Kemp has responded to those claims, citing glitches in the reporting system and blaming it on supply shortages.

“We have to recognize that our effort is to try to reach population immunity, what is popularly termed herd immunity, and we can do it the right way through vaccines — the safe, ethical way,” Weitz said. “Or we might have more and more spread, even now without mass vaccinations, and these larger gatherings happened that we reach them the wrong way, with increased cases, increased severity and, ultimately, more hospitalizations and fatalities.”

Seiden contacted the Department of Public Health, which stated Georgia is receiving 235,000 doses a week of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. But this week, they aren’t receiving any Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires individuals to take only one dose.

The latest numbers from the state’s vaccine tracker show that 81% of vaccines shipped have made it into the arms of Georgians.

That number is expected to increase as Mercedes-Benz Stadium plans to administer 6,000 vaccines per day.