COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)– The West Central Health District is now offering the second COVID vaccine booster.

Second and first boosters will be administered at the Columbus Health Department, located at 5601 Veterans Parkway.

West Central Public Relations and Information Coordinator Pamela Kirkland shares with News 3 when vaccines will be available.

“We have vaccines available Monday through Friday from 9-4 at the health department, that’s here in Columbus. We’re going to be closed tomorrow, so we won’t have vaccines available tomorrow but Friday, we will have testing available from 9-4. So, if anybody needs to get a test, they can go to the health department and get that done, or they can go to Shirley B. Winston Park from 9-1 and get that done,” Kirkland also shares Shirley B. Winston is located on Steam Mill Road.

Georgia’s stay at home mandate ended nearly two years ago. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp extended the mandate from April 13, 2020 to April 30, 2020. Kirkland shares what COVID cases looked like after the mandate ended.

“When the mandate ended and the lockdown ended, we had about 300 cases in Columbus. We had lower cases in the other counties, but in Muscogee County we had about 300 cases.” Kirkland also says Muscogee County has had about 32,000 cases cumulatively since 2020.

When asked about the potential benefits of the booster, Kirkland explains it provides additional protection against the virus, but it is up to the individual and based on personal decision.

“That’s a personal decision that everybody has to make, it’s been authorized, so if you are 50 years of age or older and you’d like to get a second booster, you may do so. If you’re 12 years of age and older, it is available for those who are immunocompromised, either severely or moderately. So, they also have that choice if they would like to get an additional booster. It’s really up to you… it just depends on everybody’s personal choice,” she shares.

Kirkland shares the health department is seeing a rise in cases, however not enough to cause concern.

“We’re seeing some rise in cases, but not a lot. And we have many counties that don’t have any cases and haven’t had any new cases reported for the last couple of weeks,” she says.

Despite the decline in cases, there still is no telling when the pandemic will be over. Kirkland sheds light on what she hopes to see going forward.

“I think at some point we have to go from being in a pandemic to just living with this. And, you know, COVID seems like it’s not going to go away but I think, you know, eventually we’ll get to the point where it’s just one of those things that people get just like the flu or any other type of virus that’s going around. Even the state has the state department of public health has reduced their reporting to only once a week starting next week. So, you know, we’ll continue to get numbers and updates, but it will only be on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis. So, I think the overall trend is just to work it into our normal routine and just know that, you know, COVID may be here for a while so it’s just something we’re going to have to get used to,” she explains.