ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Wednesday that Georgia will open up five more mass COVID-19 vaccination sites on March 17.
The announcement comes as the state prepares to expand vaccination eligibility to teachers and at-risk health groups and their caregivers starting Monday.
During his news conference, Kemp said there is a 75,000 person waitlist at the four mass vaccination sites that opened last month.
Kemp said the new mass vaccination sites will help as the amount of vaccine coming to Georgia is going up. The state is expecting 223,000 doses next week, which is up from 198,000 this week.
“I just feel like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The amount of people that have now got the vaccine, the amount of vaccine, has continued to increase week over week,: Kemp said. “I think we’re going to get to that point where instead of going up 50,000 per week, it’s going to go 150,000 or 200,000.”
Georgia opened four vaccination sites on Feb. 22 at the Delta Air Museum, Macon Farmers Market, Albany Georgia Forestry Site and Habersham County Fairgrounds.
The new locations will open March 17 at LakePoint Sports Complex in Bartow County, Columbus Civic Center in Muscogee County, Word of Life Church in Washington County, Gulfstream Aerospace in Chatham County and the Mall at Waycross Shopping Center in Ware County
Appointments can be made on the state’s website here. So far, Georgia has administered 2,154,840 COVID-19 vaccine doses according to the state’s dashboard.
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The vaccinations are expected to ramp up with the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Kemp announced that allocation will be heading first to teachers.
“On the Johnson & Johnson front, we expect to have those 83,000 doses this week. We will be prioritizing those doses for our educators to ensure a full five days a week return to the classroom,” he said.
The governor said that 60% of Georgians over 65 have now received the vaccine and state data shows eight out of 10 doses received have been administered.
However, Kemp said the state can’t control what happens to vaccine given directly by the federal government to pharmacy chains and other providers.
“We know we can be in a lot better range with what we control with the state than what doses are going other places,” he said.
With the third vaccine approved, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that there will be enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate every adult in the United States by the end of May.