Learn who’s eligible for the vaccine in Georgia, how to schedule an appointment, and where to get it

MACON, Ga. – On Jan. 12, Governor Brian Kemp reviewed Georgia’s vaccine distribution efforts, the day after the state upgraded eligibility to obtain a vaccine.

The state switched to Phase 1A of its vaccine distribution plan on Monday, making it available to people 65 and older, as well as first responders and law enforcement agencies. This led to a surge in new demand.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and how to get it in Central Georgia.

Make sure to bookmark this page as the information will change as the distribution progresses.

Do you have a question that we haven’t answered? You can email it to us at news@13wmaz.com

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Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

State and federal authorities say yes. The Georgia Department of Public Health website states that over 70,000 people have participated in clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to make sure they are safe and effective. They’re both FDA cleared and nearly 95% prevent COVID-19.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. The vaccine does not contain the COVID-19 virus, according to the GDPH website. The vaccine mimics the infection, so our body develops antibody defenses against the virus.

What is the difference between Moderna and Pfizer vaccines?

Pfizer received the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine on December 11, 2020 and the EUA for the Moderna vaccine on December 18, 2020.

According to the FDA, both vaccines are highly effective, require two doses, and have a shelf life of up to six months. The second dose of Pfizer is given 21 days after the first dose. Moderna’s, 28 days later.

Both are messenger RNA vaccines. This means that the virus’ genetic code is injected into the body so that it can tell cells which antibodies to make. The Pfizer vaccine is the first mRNA technology to be approved for human use by the Food and Drug Administration.

A key difference between the two is that Moderna’s vaccine is easier to store. It doesn’t require super cold freezer transport and can be stored in regular freezers.

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Do the vaccines have side effects?

They can have mild, temporary, and normal side effects. The Georgia DPH says these are signs your body is creating protection. Some people may feel pain and swelling in the arm that they received the injection. Some may have a fever, chills, fatigue, and headache.

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If I have had COVID-19 and have recovered, do I still need to be vaccinated?

Yes. Health officials recommend that people who have recovered from COVID-19 be vaccinated.

Do I have to wear a mask and social distance after vaccination?

Yes. According to the CDC, it is important that everyone continue to practice social distancing, wash their hands, wear masks, take precautions and use all the tools available to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Who Is Eligible For The Georgia COVID-19 Vaccine?

The Georgian Ministry of Health is currently administering the COVID-19 vaccine in phase 1A +. This includes healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, and rescue workers. This includes people who live or work in long-term care facilities, people over 65 and their caregivers, law enforcement agencies and firefighters.

If I’m not included in Phase 1A +, when can I get a vaccine?

The federal government supplies these vaccines, so it may be weeks before more vendors have them available for the next phase of distribution and faster and wider distribution.

There is no schedule as to when this might be, but the DPH website says the next vaccination phase is 1B. This includes non-healthcare workers in critical infrastructure.

The final phase is 1C, which involves people aged 16 to 64 with conditions that increase the risk of COVID-19 complications.

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You can get the COVID-19 vaccine from the health departments in Central Georgia, but you will need to make an appointment. Vaccinations are also possible with an appointment with private providers such as pharmacies.

Click here to use the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Locator and search your county to find out who offers vaccinations.

You must be eligible for the current distribution phase to receive the shot.

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How do I schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 in Central Georgia?

The Georgia Department of Public Health website states that the departments only schedule vaccinations by appointment. Most other providers do the same.

You can call the North Central Health District at 1-844-987-0099 to schedule your appointment.

The NCHD includes these 13 counties: Baldwin, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Macon-Bibb, Monroe, Peach, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington, and Wilkinson.

The telephone lines are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Michael Hokanson of the NCHD says if you’re on hold until 4:30 p.m. they won’t hang up. You schedule everyone who is on hold but not answering new calls.

You can call the South Central Health District at 478-275-6570 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or click here to schedule an appointment online. At the moment they are only by appointment.

The SCHD covers these 10 counties: Bleckley, Dodge, Johnson, Laurens. Montgomery, Pulaski, Telfair, Treutlen, Wheeler and Wilcox.

If you live in the West Central Health District, you can register online here.

The WCHD covers the following counties: Columbus, Chattahoochee, Clay, Crisp, Dooly, Harris, Macon, Marion, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor and Webster.

Central Georgia’s Ministry of Health’s phone lines have slammed, but 2,000 people have made appointments

The South Central Health District responds after people struggle to schedule vaccine appointments

When are new dates opened?

That would vary by district, but unfortunately they don’t have quick answers. It depends on the availability of the vaccine which they cannot control.

Call the Georgia COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at (888) 357-0169 with additional questions about COVID-19 and the COVID vaccine. This number is Not for planning vaccination appointments.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine distribution in Georgia, click here.

Click here for a look at Georgia’s full COVID-19 vaccination schedule.

For a full list of answers to frequently asked questions about the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccine, click here.

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