Dozens turned away from Atlanta Motor Speedway COVID-19 vaccination site

Dozens turned away from Atlanta Motor Speedway COVID-19 vaccination site

Dozens of people who showed up before dawn at a drive thru coronavirus vaccination site at Atlanta Motor Speedway got turned away by police early Tuesday because they did not have appointments.

“It wasn’t easy for me packing up my car to sit in the cold. I got very upset. I said we have to get to the bottom of this.” said Henry County resident Ruth Morgan.

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With vaccine eligibility now for anyone 65 and over, health officials have been overwhelmed by people calling to ask when they can be vaccinated.

Initially, health officials in Henry County planned not to require appointments for the drive thru clinic at Atlanta Motor Speedway. They worried that they would be swamped by people seeking a shot, even though they only had 800 doses available.

They switched course, but not everyone got the word.

“What we didn’t want was long lines and people camping out overnight to be first in line. Vaccines are limited. We just ask the public to please be patient with us. We are taking calls and getting out the vaccine as fast as possible,” said Xavier Crockett, spokesman for Henry County Department of Health.

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Some people said they spent hours on the phone trying to reach someone at the county health department to scheduled an appointment.

“I dialed 850 times over two days before I could finally get through to talk to someone to get this appointment,” John Alton said.

County health officials say they hope to upgrade their system to allow people to book vaccine appointments on line, in addition to calling by phone.

They said they have ordered more vaccines and will set up more vaccination clinics when doses become available.

National Guard says it stands ready to help with distributing COVID-19 vaccine