Governor expects big increase in amount of COVID-19 vaccine soon

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp says Georgia could see a big increase in the number of vaccine doses it gets from the federal government and he’s encouraging all Georgians to sign up for an appointment.

Kemp said an increase in Johnson & Johnson vaccines should make a big difference.

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Georgia was ranked at or near the bottom in terms of vaccine distribution but now the governor’s office said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House confirm some of that was due to a data reporting glitch and that Georgia is doing better than thought.

When more vaccine arrives, Kemp said Georgians need to be ready.

“We’re encouraging every eligible Georgian to please make their appointment as soon as possible,” Kemp said.

Georgia is about to get a huge increase in number of vaccines it should be getting from the federal government, which Kemp said is encouraging news since he plans to open up eligibility to all Georgians in April.

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“We expect next week to either be the same allotment or potentially a small increase, however, we’re planning for a large increase in supply from the Biden administration beginning the week of March 29,” Kemp said.

Much of that, Kemp said, is due to increased shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The state plans to open up more sites around the state to get more shots in arms.

“What you have to do is look at the scope,” said Valdosta lawmaker Dexter Sharper.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase the number of people able to administer vaccines by allowing emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, in training to give shots.

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But Sharper said that plan, though well-intentioned, may not work because basic EMTs are not trained to give those kinds of injections.

He knows because he is one. He recommended the bill get tweaked before it moves forward.

“Once you get past EMT, regular EMT stage and you get into your intermediates and your advanced, of course, we know cardiac techs and paramedics, that’s when this bill would be effective,” Sharper said.

The governor’s office is also encouraging all providers to use at least 80% of the doses they’re getting within the week they get them.

A lot of places are withholding some so they’ll have second doses to give.

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