Metro Atlanta starts to receive first round of COVID-19 vaccine

Metro Atlanta starts to receive first round of COVID-19 vaccine

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Frontline workers in Gwinnett County rolled up their sleeves to get the first round of COVID-19 vaccines.

The vaccines are among 16,000 doses set to arrive in metro Atlanta on Wednesday.

Testing continues across metro Atlanta as the number of COVID-19 cases rise. Some 2,000 doses of the vaccine arrived Wednesday morning at the Gwinnett County Board of Health.

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Channel 2′s Tony Thomas was inside the room as the first metro Atlanta health care workers got their shot.

“Our numbers are skyrocketing. This vaccine will help,” said Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County health director Dr. Audrey Arona.

Arona was one of the first five employees to get the Pfizer vaccine in metro Atlanta.

“It felt great,” Arona said.

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In all, state leaders say some 16,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were to arrive in metro Atlanta Wednesday, with another 60,000 or so by week’s end.

“While the vaccine is a game changer in reference to our response, we still have a long way to go before it’s available to the general public,” Arona said.

This first wave of vaccine will go to health care providers, EMS workers and potentially nursing homes.

“The real factor that’s going to limit all this is the supply of the vaccine,” Arona said.

Thomas contacted several metro Atlanta hospitals Wednesday. Most said they expect their doses within the next two days.

Eastside Hospital said it plans to start vaccinating Thursday. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta said its timeline keeps getting delayed.

Wellstar Health System sent Thomas a statement that read, in part:

“Wellstar Health System is excited about the pending arrival this week of the first batch of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine doses. As one of the largest health systems in Georgia acting as a distribution hub for the vaccine, we are deeply grateful for the diligent work and science invested in the development, testing, and distribution of this historic vaccine that provides much-anticipated hope for immunity against this deadly coronavirus.

“While we await details on vaccine shipments, we are planning to begin administering vaccines to our frontline healthcare workers in the first phase of distribution shortly after the first doses arrive.”

One obstacle for health care providers is convincing those eligible to take the shot.

Marty Carpenter told Thomas he was jittery about getting the vaccine until the last few days.

“Just because of the speed of it. But once I did more research, I felt more comfortable,” Carpenter said.

“If I had enough vaccine to do everyone, I would do it today,” Arona said.

A second vaccine developed by Moderna could begin arriving in metro Atlanta next week.

State health officials told Thomas on Tuesday that some 174,000 doses of that vaccine are expected in the first wave.

Doctors seeing more and more patients coming down with COVID-19 and the flu