COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced Wednesday at the Columbus Civic Center that the mass COVID-19 vaccination site there would be open without an appointment beginning today.
That will run at least through Friday as the pool of Georgians eligible for the vaccine greatly expands.
“As eligibility expands we will play that day by day after Friday,” Kemp said, as he was flanked by Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson and other officials.
Beginning Thursday, all Georgians over 16 years old will be eligible to receive the shot. Currently, the Civic Center GEMA site is using the two-shot Pfizer vaccine.
The Columbus mass GEMA clinic is operating Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This clinic that the governor is touring is one of nine Georgia Emergency Management Agency sites open across the state.
It was opened a week ago in this parking lot with the capacity to do 1,100 shots per day and the ability to ramp up quickly when the need presented itself. In the first five days the clinic operated, 3,447 people got vaccinated, according to a GEMA spokesperson.
There were 295 doses scheduled for Wednesday, but the number of shots given ended up 746 because Kemp opened it up.
There are 257 doses scheduled for Thursday. GEMA is expecting to do far more than that because of the governor’s decision.
Kemp also expressed concerns about vaccine hesitancy, especially south of Atlanta.
“We need people to get vaccinated that is our ticket back to normal getting sporting events at full capacity,” Kemp said. “Not having to worry about kids playing spring and summer sports going on vacation going out to eat support our local restaurants in helping supporting our local small business owners.”