ATLANTA — Georgia has added a new tool to find COVID-19 vaccine providers as the state begins its next phase in the distribution plan.
The Georgia Department of Public Health announced on Sunday that the agency had launched its own "COVID vaccine locator" to allow users to find vaccine providers in their communities.
The agency stresses this is not a centralized scheduling tool but it does help find locations and contact information for providers.
The news came on the eve of Phase 1A+ of the vaccine administration process. This phase will include healthcare workers, residents, and staff at long-term care facilities, adults 65 and older and their caregivers - where applicable, law enforcement, firefighters, 911 dispatchers, and first responders.
"The process of administering COVID-19 vaccine is more complicated than other common vaccines, such as flu vaccine, and requires providers to have more resources available, including an area where individuals can be monitored for 15 minutes after being vaccinated," DPH said in a statement. "Many providers with vaccine are still vaccinating their own staffs and patients and are not open to the public for vaccination yet."
Gov. Brian Kemp thanked healthcare workers for completing more than 9,500 vaccinations at metro Atlanta's four mass vaccination sites in the last week.
Previous reports suggested Georgia vaccinations lagged behind other states. However, some experts say the initially slow rollout isn't entirely the fault of states.
Dr. Carlos Del Rio told 11Alive the delay in vaccine administration was partly due to the federal government pouring funding into the development of the vaccine and leaving distribution strategy to the states.
Meanwhile, the state claimed that Pfizer and Moderna would soon be ramping up production.
For now, Georgia's top health agency is asking the public to have patience as healthcare organizations "work together to get the vaccine distributed in the most efficient and equitable way possible."
Since the announcement of the state vaccine locater tool, both Publix and Kroger said they have vaccines available for eligible customers. Vaccinations can be scheduled by appointments and can be set up online through each of their websites. Get information about vaccinations at Publix here. Get information about Kroger vaccinations here.
Ingles is another supermarket that will have a limited supply of vaccines. Ingles is taking registrations online.