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Some Georgians say they're running into these issues getting second COVID vaccine dose

Public health departments run by DPH are making appointments for second doses when people get their first one but that's not the case at mass vaccination sites.

ATLANTA — Georgia has now recorded more than 16,000 COVID-19 deaths. It's been just over a year since the first COVID-related death in our state.

More than a half-million people have died in the United States, which highlights the importance of getting vaccinated. And while some have said getting the first shot was difficult, others say getting the second one is nearly impossible.

For some Georgians, getting that first COVID-19 shot appointment comes with a sigh of relief, followed by weeks of silence, followed by concern.

"You kind of freak out -- why did this person get it and why can't I? What's going on? Is there some glitch in the system?" asked Shari Stuart.

Stuart, who reached out to 11Alive, got her first shot the week of March 1 at a mass vaccination site in Macon. Those sites are run by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security.

RELATED: New mass COVID-19 vaccination sites open Wednesday | Here's how to schedule an appointment

Another viewer, who preferred to stay anonymous, said it has been three weeks and he has not heard from anyone.

"It's supposed to be March 25 - less than a week! This morning, I checked MyVaccine site, all nine state mass vaccination sites are open for the first dose scheduling," he said. "There's no option for second dose! Why is the state pushing for the first dose?"

But it's been less than 21 days, and that's normal if you got your first shot through GEMA.

The agency said the earliest you'll be able to schedule the second Pfizer dose through them is actually 21 days after your first Pfizer shot.

In a statement, GEMA wrote what people have been mixing up the most:

"There has been some confusion for people who think that they have to obtain their second dose within 21 days of getting the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. This is not the case. The earliest they can schedule a second dose is 21 days after their first dose. There is a 42-day window to obtain their second dose. Recipients of their first dose at one of our mass vaccination sites will receive an email link to schedule their second dose. 

Another issue we are seeing is people mistakenly believe that the date on the back of the CDC vaccination card they are given at our sites after getting vaccinated is a return appointment date. It is not. It is the date that they are eligible for a second dose. They have an additional 21 days after that date to get their second dose of Pfizer vaccine."

"It's good to know what exactly to expect other than what we think we should be expecting," said Stuart. "They need to be clear on this is what's going to happen when you register for your vaccine."

Stuart said she was not given proper instructions on how to apply for the second dose after getting her first one.

Another point of confusion has been the difference between the second-dose policies between GEMA and the Georgia Department of Public Health

Public health departments run by DPH are making appointments for second doses when people get their first one but that's not the case at mass vaccination sites.

Also, be aware that the scheduling website for each one is different, too. 

For scheduling through DPH, click here.

For scheduling through GEMA, click here.

RELATED: COVID-19 mass vaccination sites adjusting appointment times due to storms

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