Gov. Kemp: 'You need to get the vaccine'

All Georgians 16 years old and up are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and Gov.Brian Kemp, R-Georgia, said the state has seen an increase in demand on the first day of the expanded criteria.

"I'm glad to be here. I know that and really glad it came as quickly as it has. It's interesting. We're seeing tremendous demand still in the metro Atlanta area and a lot of our north Georgia sites as well--Habersham, Cartersville," said Gov. Kemp. "But down in other parts of the state, you know, we still have a lot of appointments, but we've kind of changed our strategy a little bit today as we've opened the eligibility up and allowing drive-up vaccinations at those sites and it's really moved our numbers. So, I'm encouraged by what I've seen today."

Gov. Kemp said he continues to meet with local church leaders, business owners, and elected officials across the state to plan for more localized vaccination events, especially for communities that have vaccine hesitancy.

"We're going to continue to be flexible and nimble. We'll move. We'll have partnerships," Gov. Kemp explained. "We're getting to the point where we've got supply and we'll certainly have in the next week or two where we'll have a lot of options available to go neighborhood to neighborhood with smaller batches of doses versus sending a thousand to one site for one day."

SEE ALSO: Vaccine hesitancy is the latest battle in the fight against COVID-19

To encourage people in the southern half of the state to get vaccinated, Gov. Kemp plans to get his first shot in Waycross on Friday.

"I'm feeling ready," said Gov. Kemp. "This week I've been extra careful. I do not want to want to get COVID the day before I get my vaccine. So, I'm pretty excited about it."

With the vaccine now open to all Georgia adults, some have pushed for the governor to fully reopen the state. He said that will likely come in weeks versus months.

"As I've said, we are not going to wait and beg people to get the vaccine. You know, we're going to move when we feel like the time is right to fully reopen. We're basically fully reopen now. There's just a few sectors [that are not.] So, I'm ready to do that sooner rather than later," Gov. Kemp said.

He warned that people will need to continue taking precautions to protect themselves and their families from the coronavirus.

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