Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the state health commissioner, described the situation as “unacceptable” on Thursday.

ATLANTA – Georgia’s Supreme Health Authority, Dr. Kathleen Toomey said Thursday the reason the state is expanding access to the COVID-19 vaccine is because parts of the state have cans that are “literally in freezers,” rural health workers are reluctant to to take them.

The Department of Health commissioner said at a news conference that while hundreds of health care workers are waiting to be vaccinated in Metro Atlanta, “vaccines are available in many parts of rural Georgia, both north and south and literally sitting in freezers. “

“That is unacceptable,” said Dr. Toomey. “We have to save lives.”

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The state announced on Wednesday evening the plan to expand access to make the vaccine available to adults aged 65 and over and first responders such as police and fire departments.

In Phase 1A of the government’s vaccine rollout plan, the vaccine was targeted primarily to healthcare workers and residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

But it has encountered an unexpected roadblock in many cases – the healthcare workers themselves.

“It really made sense for us to move into this additional category to offer vaccines to such vulnerable people at a time when, unfortunately, we are not getting the kind of vaccine from healthcare workers across the state,” said Dr. Toomey Thursday.

Georgia is not unique in this regard – there are healthcare workers across the country who have had high levels of exposure to the coronavirus for months and are not rushing to take the vaccine as expected.

Dr. However, Toomey said Thursday she was fully confident of his safety.

“I looked at the data, I looked at how the vaccines were being developed. You know, nobody cut corners. They did it in a record time that took many of us in the public health sector by surprise, but it did that.” it wasn’t because security measures were cut. The paperwork and bureaucracy were streamlined to make it quick because it is needed quickly, “said Dr. Toomey. “And I hope that when other people are vaccinated, when people’s mothers are vaccinated, they will be ready to be vaccinated too.”

Dr. Toomey said, however, the state expects an aggressive surge in vaccinations with drive-through vaccination clinics and extended appointments over the next several weeks.