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Gov. Kemp expands vaccine eligibility to Georgians over 55, adults with high-risk conditions

Kemp made the announcement during a press briefing at the state Capitol with other health officials.

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and state health officials provided an update on efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

He announced Wednesday that additional groups will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting on March 15. It will include all Georgians over 55 years old and those over 16 years old with high-risk medical conditions. 

He hopes that it will become open to all adults starting next month. 

Kemp spoke at the state Capitol and is joined by Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey; and Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director Chris Stallings. 

You can watch a replay of the press conference on 11Alive.com or streaming below on the 11Alive YouTube channel

He said the vaccine supply is something the state is still working through. 

"We're very confident in how we're moving forward. We don't want to create such demand that we have - you know - the horror stories that we saw in other states of long lines. We also don't want to have supply sitting out there with not having the demand for that supply."

Toomey elaborated on who qualifies as adults with high-risk medical conditions. They include asthma, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions, immunocompromised state, liver disease, neurologic conditions, obesity, pulmonary fibrosis, sickle cell disease and thalassemia.   

According to Kemp's office, adding Georgians over the age of 55 and those at high risk to COVID-19 will make vaccines available to categories that account for 92% of deaths due to COVID-19 in Georgia.

Last week, Kemp announced that five additional state-run mass-vaccination sites would soon open. He added that the openings - slated for March 17 - could  happen around the same time another announcement could come for the next group of people eligible.

RELATED: State to open 5 additional mass COVID-19 vaccination sites, bringing total to 9

Some states in recent days have lowered the age group of people who are eligible.

On Monday, teachers (Pre-K, K-12, DECAL licensed or exempt childcare programs), adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers and parents of children with complex medical conditions who are at high risk for COVID complications became eligible.

RELATED: Can you receive the COVID vaccine in Georgia?

Others who have been eligible include healthcare workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, adults 65 and older and their caregivers and law enforcement, firefighters and first responders.  

As of Tuesday the state has given 2,407,851 doses. There are around 830,000 doses available to give out. 

Last week, Biden said the United States would have enough coronavirus vaccines for every single American adult by the end of May.

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