ATLANTA - There were selfies, Band-Aids and a steady stream of vaccine recipients in Doraville on Monday morning as about 420 people were scheduled to be vaccinated at a DeKalb Board of Health vaccination site, many newly eligible for the vaccine
"I feel so fortunate, so lucky." Jay Dong says, who just turned 65 and was receiving his first dose of the vaccine. "This is the United States. I feel very appreciative."
Just over 3 million Georgians are in the expanded vaccine eligibility group, which includes people age 55 and older or those high-risk health conditions, such as asthma, kidney and heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
People with body mass index (or BMI) over 25 also now qualify for the vaccine.
DeKalb Board of Health PIO Eric Nickens says the expansion of the vaccine eligibility has boosted demand for the vaccine.
"So, appointments will still continue to fill up rather quickly," Nickens said. "But, ultimately, we will be able to get you in for an appointment."
Josh Harrison, who is 47 and a caregiver for a sibling, says getting vaccinated means he and his wife can see friends and family again without having to worry about infecting them.
"I think I'm still going to play it safe, still going to keep a distance," Harrison said. "I've been working remotely, my wife and I both for a while."
At the East Lake Country Club, Piedmont Hospital teamed up with the East Lake Foundation to vaccinate about 150 members of the East Lake Community Monday.
To get a shot, you will need an appointment, which can be scheduled online or by phone.
The Georgia Department of Public Health offers a vaccine locator and scheduling tool on its website www.dph.georgia.gov.
Nine state-run mass vaccination sites will be operational by Wednesday.
To book an appointment at a GEMA-operated site, visit www.mygeorgiavaccine.com.
Many chain and independent pharmacies are also offering the vaccine.
The website www.vaccinefinder.org will allow you to search for providers in your zip code and check to see which ones currently have vaccine.
If you can't find an appointment in your community, Eric Nickens said, the new statewide scheduling system will allow you to schedule one in another health district.
"Ultimately, you will get a spot," Nickens said. "It may not necessarily be in DeKalb County, but, if you're willing to travel just a little bit, over a county line, we can more than likely get you in."
The state's Vaccine Registration and Administration Solution (VRAS) appointment scheduling system will update with available appointments periodically.