The tool is aimed at helping people find a vaccination site near them in the state.
ATLANTA — Georgia is adding a new tool to find COVID vaccine providers as the state begins its next phase in the distribution plan.
The Georgia Department of Public Health announced on Sunday that the agency had launched its own “COVID vaccine locator” to allow users to find vaccine providers in their communities.
The agency stresses this is not a centralized scheduling tool but does help find locations and contact information for providers.
The news comes on the eve of Phase 1A+ of the vaccine administration process. This phase will include healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, adults 65 and older and their caregivers – where applicable, law enforcement, firefighters, 911 dispatchers, and first responders.
“The process of administering COVID-19 vaccine is more complicated than other common vaccines, such as flu vaccine, and requires providers to have more resources available, including an area where individuals can be monitored for 15 minutes after being vaccinated,” DPH said in a statement. “Many providers with vaccine are still vaccinating their own staffs and patients and are not open to the public for vaccination yet.”
As of Friday, Georgia had vaccinated about a quarter of the number of doses it had received with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting the state having one of the lowest vaccination rates.
The latest numbers provided by DPH, however, suggest that percentage administered had increased to roughly a third.
Gov. Brian Kemp also thanked healthcare workers for completing more than 9,500 vaccinations at metro-Atlanta’s four mass vaccination sites in the last week.
Meanwhile, some experts say the initially slow rollout isn’t entirely the fault of states.
Dr. Carlos Del Rio told 11Alive the delay in vaccine administration was partly due to the federal government pouring funding into the development of the vaccine and leaving distribution strategy to the states.
Meanwhile, the state claims that Pfizer and Moderna will soon be ramping up production.
For now, Georgia’s top health agency is asking the public to have patience as healthcare organizations “work together to get the vaccine distributed in the most efficient and equitable way possible.”
As of Friday’s update, the DPH reports that 167,057 vaccines have been administered. Pfizer has shipped 261,300 vaccines with 353,925 allocated and Moderna has shipped 294,500 of 360,000 allocated.
The state reports that 1,481 providers have enrolled to provide the vaccine.