Kemp expands vaccine eligibility to Georgians 55 and older and 'high-risk' individuals

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Wednesday that COVID-19 vaccine eligibility is expanding to Georgians ages 55 and older and Georgians with serious health conditions defined by the CDC on March 15.

"Adding these high-risk Georgians mean vaccinations will be available to categories that have accounted for 92% of deaths due to COVID-19 in Georgia," Kemp said.

People can register at People ages 55 and older with that already registered on the website does not need to take further action. Those who qualify because of a medical condition can pre-register beginning Monday at 6 a.m.

The state released a list of high-risk medical conditions that qualify any Georgian 16 years old or older, according to Kathleen Toomey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular Disease
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart conditions
  • Immunocompromised state
  • Liver disease 
  • Neurologic conditions (Dementia, Parkinson's, ALS)
  • Overweight and obesity (BMI greater than 25 kg)
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Thalassemia 

The governor's office reported more than 2.4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Georgia. 

The 7-day average of cases is at 1,298 cases, the lowest since October.

Kemp said he and First Lady Marty Kemp will soon receive their own dose of the vaccine, possibly the Johnson & Johnson single-dose version.

Kemp mentioned his desire to move quickly in rolling out vaccines in Georgia. He said criteria could change "quickly" and open the vaccine to a large group of Georgians inside a month. 

He advised anyone currently eligible to get vaccinated, including teachers, to take advantage of the remaining window of limited eligibility before the demand spikes on March 15 when criteria expands.

"Make no mistake, this is your opportunity, these days ahead, to get in the queue and get your vaccine," Kemp said.

On Monday, vaccine eligibility expanded to include teachers on March 8. 

At the start of his press conference, Kemp criticized the $1.9 trillion federal aid package which passed the U.S. House of Representatives during Kemp's address. 

He called it a "blue-state bailout" singles out conservative states to prevent states from cutting taxes. 

"This bill is a wishlist for California and New York and, quite frankly, it's a slap in the face to Georgians," Kemp said. 

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