Gov. Kemp extends COVID-19 order to allow nurses, pharmacists to administer vaccines

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order on Monday extending Georgia’s Public Health State of Emergency until Jan. 8 and COVID-19 restrictions until Dec. 15.

The order includes changes to allow nurses and pharmacists to administer the pending COVID-19 vaccine, including in a drive-thru setting. It also allows any nurse or pharmacist to observe patients for the required 15-minute window after getting the vaccine.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

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The extension from Kemp comes after some promising developments from the vaccine trials happening here in metro Atlanta and around the world.

Two pharmaceutical companies have requested emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so they can begin to distribute the vaccine.

Pfizer said new test results show its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective. Moderna said the vaccine it worked on at Emory University is more than 94% effective at preventing the virus.

Kemp said Monday if the FDA grants emergency vaccine authorization that frontline workers could start getting vaccinations by the second or third week in December.

On Monday, the governor also spoke more about Georgia’s plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine to nursing homes. Kemp said there are 160 long-term facilities affected across the state and more than 95% of them are included in the vaccine plan.

On Tuesday, an advisory committee with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to consider how the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be allocated and who will receive the vaccines first.

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