ATLANTA - Gov. Brian Kemp announced that he has authorized the reopening of the Georgia World Congress Center as a makeshift hospital. The center will have 60 beds. The facility will begin accepting patients next week.
Kemp was joined by state health officials at Emory Healthcare Tuesday afternoon to give an update on COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the state.
The first shipment of Moderna's vaccine is on its way to the state. Officials expect the first shipments to arrive this week.
"The vaccine will be easier to deploy and store, and it will be going to hundreds of public health sites, hospitals, pharmacies and clinics all across the state," Kemp said.
The governor and state health officials continue to remain optimistic as another COVID-19 vaccine is ready for distribution across the state. There are 174,000 doses of Moderna's vaccine expected to come to Georgia this week. Unlike Pfizer's vaccine, Moderna's doesn't need to be stored in a cold freezer. Health officials said that's good news for distribution.
"These vaccines are safe. They're very effective, and we're working nonstop to get them out to our fellow Georgians following the CDC guidance," said Kemp.
In the last week, Georgia has already received over 125,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine. The State will also begin vaccinating residents and staff in long-term health care facilities next Monday.
"With now the Moderna vaccine, we can literally cover the state with vaccinations," said Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner.
More than 500,000 healthcare workers in Georgia are eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Officials expect a second vaccine to help the rollout go as quick as possible.
"This long battle, as long as it's been, we know it is coming to an end with this vaccine that we have before us," said Kemp.
Kemp is also pleading with Georgians to stay home this Christmas.
"We need Christmas to not be so bad because obviously something's been going on, really, prior to Thanksgiving," said Kemp.
"Today we've reporter the highest rates we've ever seen in Georgia. We've reported the highest numbers of new cases," said Dr. Toomey.
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