COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)- More people will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting January 11, as Georgia has moved to expand Phase 1A vaccine criteria. In Columbus, local leaders say this means more high-risk patients and community members will be able to get the vaccine.
Phase 1A will be expanded to include all law enforcement and fire personnel, adults aged 65 and older, and their caregivers.
According to the Columbus Consolidated Government, Phase 1a will include the following:
- Healthcare personnel
- Long-term care facility residents
- Law enforcement and fire personnel (including volunteer departments)
- People aged 65 and older
- Caregivers of people 65 and older
The Georgia Department of Public Health is following recommendations from the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices regarding who gets priority in receiving the vaccine.
“We’re all eventually going to have access to it,” Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said. “The CDC has designed these tiers based on the people who are interacting with the largest number of people who are susceptible to the virus.”
Mayor Henderson asks that people refrain from signing up for the vaccine with DPH online if they do not qualify to be in this tier.
“Don’t walk into some of these places if you hear the vaccine is being given,” Henderson said. “Be orderly about it because eventually we’re all going to have access to it.”
Vaccine supply is limited, so public health departments are scheduling vaccines by appointment only.
“Once we have 10 people that are able to come at the same time, we contact those people and get them vaccinated,” Pamela Kirkland, Public Relations/Information Coordinator at Georgia Department of Public Health, said. “We have to make sure that we have that vaccine used within a certain period… we don’t want to waste any of the doses.”
Columbus residents who qualify for Phase 1A who need to be vaccinated must register online at www.columbushealth.com. Following registration, each person will be contacted to set up an appointment date and time to get the shot.