ATLANTA - It took Glen Sarvady's wife, Andy, a teacher at the Paideia School in Atlanta, several days of searching to find a vaccine appointment for herself, as Georgia opened up vaccine eligibility to educators Monday.
"It was clearly a big burden on her as a schoolteacher," Sarvady says. "It was a major weight on her shoulders."
But, as a healthy 58-year-old, the financial technology consultant and father of 3 figured it would be another 6 weeks before he was able to receive the vaccine.
That changed quickly on Wednesday, the day after his wife got her first shot.
"And, literally, about midday yesterday, breaking news: 55 and over are now eligible, " Sarvady says. "I'm scheduled for next Tuesday, at a Kroger. Again, my wife was the one that went out there and was just pounding the internet and hitting the refresh button. All of a sudden, all at once, they released some new dates."
Beginning Monday, March 15, 2021, Georgians 55 and older and those with certain high-risk health conditions will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.
People with the following medical conditions are included in the vaccine expansion group:
- Asthma (moderate to severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Heart conditions
- Liver disease
- Neurologic conditions
- Overweight and obesity
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Thalassemia (blood disorder)
Georgians will not be asked to provide documentation such as a doctor's note or medical record to prove they are authorized to receive the vaccine.
To locate a shot provider in your area, go to www.vaccinefinder.org and type in your zip code.
The site will show you a list of providers, indicating which ones currently have vaccine in stock.
The Georgia Department of Public Health's website, www.dph.georgia.gov, also has a vaccine provider locator and a tool to schedule vaccine appointments.
If you cannot get an appointment through the county health department or health provider, try a pharmacy.
Kroger, Ingles, Publix, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Sam's Club and independent pharmacies across the state are offering COVID-19 vaccine.
By the end of next week, The Georgia EMA and Homeland Security Administration will be opening 5 new mass vaccination sites, capable of vaccination up to 1,000 people a day.
The sites will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be located in the following cities:
- Columbus-Muscogee Site - Columbus, GA
- Washington County Site - Sandersville, GA
- Chatham County Site - Savannah, GA
- Bartow County Site - Emerson, GA
- Ware County Site - Waycross, GA
Four additional sites are already open in at the Delta Air Museum in Hapeville, the Albany Georgia Forestry Site, the Habersham County Fairgrounds in Clarkesville and the Macon Farmers Market.
For more information on the GEMA-run sites, go to MyGeorgiaVaccine.com.
A large federally-run vaccination site is also set to open next week at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Providers there will be able to give up to 6,000 shots a day and about 42,000 per week.
That FEMA site will be open 7 days a week for 8 weeks.
Glen Sarvady says he is already thinking about life after he is vaccinated.
He plans to go to Florida to see his father for the first time in a year.
"I'm a big music fan," Sarvady says. "I know it's not time yet, but I probably go to 20 to 30 shows at small venues every year. Clearly, we're not there just yet, but if we can get down the path to make that happen, to me, that would probably be the single thing I'm most excited about."
Teens ages 16 and 17, who have a qualifying medical condition, will need to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only one authorized for their age group.
The Pfizer vaccine is available at CVS, Walgreens, and the GEMA-Homeland Security mass vaccination sites.
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