COVID-19 vaccine distribution ramps up across metro Atlanta

Mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics happened all over metro Atlanta today. The vaccine distribution is beginning with frontline healthcare workers and first responders.

Starting next Monday, anyone over the age of 65 can get vaccinated.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium hosted more than 1,000 healthcare workers on Saturday to get the Pfizer vaccine.

The stadium also hosted around 1,200 patients on Friday. They expected to host Fulton County's vaccination efforts for as long as they can.

"We can offer space. We know logistics. We know how to deal with crowds, with people, and we have the manpower to handle that," explained Dietmar Exler, the Chief Operating Officer of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Vaccination clinics in DeKalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties also hosted patients on Saturday.

"We opened today because we have such a large volume of people looking for vaccine," said Dr. Audrey Arona, the Health Director for Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Counties, "Plus, today is the first day we really needed to increase the second shots."

More than 1,000 appointments were booked at the Lawrenceville Health Center on Saturday. Gwinnett County's Health Department said it's working to secure a larger location for vaccinations in the next week that will have the capability of taking 1,000 appointments a day.

Arona said the health department will also add a call center to help people make appointments.

"We are making plans to have a call center so people who have trouble registering online can actually call and receive an appointment," said Arona.

So far, more than 167,000 vaccines have been administered throughout the state. Health officials are urging patience as the demand for appointments is higher than the number of vaccines in the state.

"Please don't be discouraged if you go on the website and you see all the appointments have all been taken for that day. Just come back. Keep checking," said Dr. Lynn Paxton, Fulton County District's Health Director.

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