ATLANTA (WJBF) – State lawmakers in Georgia say this session will focus on getting more Georgians vaccinated with health care funding dominating talks.
Governor Brian Kemp says the state receives 120,000 doses weekly from the government, and 40,000 go to CVS and Walgreens to help vaccinate those in long term care facilities.
Georgia has nearly 1,700 providers who can give the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I have been advocating that we should vaccinate. We should not be hesitating. We need to do it in an orderly fashion. We need to have it so people have vaccines for their second vaccination,” said Senator Ben Watson (R) Savannah.
“We are at the bottom of the list. That should change,” said Senator Sheikh Rahman (D) Atlanta.
The federal government has allocated around a million doses for the state so but less than half of that has actually been used — with only 400,000 Georgians receiving the shot.
“We should be pushing that and continuing and yes, it is important for healthcare workers, 75-year-olds, 65-year-olds but we need to get everyone vaccinated,” said Sen. Watson.
State lawmakers are pushing for a smoother rollout in the months ahead.
“With my second vaccine, I did have a sore arm, I had a achiness, my neck was stiff. I am 61 and I am healthy and those over 65 didn’t have much reaction,” said Sen. Watson.
“We need to make sure we vaccinate as soon as possible as many as we can get to,” said Sen. Rahman.
“It is an antibody antigen reaction. If you have a reaction that means your immune system is robust.”
But the state’s health department does not have a timeline on when Georgia will finish up phase 1-A, which is health care workers, long term care facilities and those 65 and older.
Governor Kemp says the state should be able to vaccinate all staff and residents in long term care facilities by the end of the month, but doctors say 7 out of 10 people need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.