ATLANTA (WSAV) – The state launches its four-phase distribution plan after Georgia received 84,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

This week, healthcare workers were at the forefront of Phase 1.

Many said this week that the shot that is 95 percent effective is the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Since it is not an actual virus, you are not getting the damage you get from COVID-19 infection to your lungs, organs and tissues,” said Dr. Marybeth Sexton, Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine.

Savannah nurses are among the first in Georgia to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

“While some of the vaccination symptoms may mimic COVID symptoms, they do not contain any respiratory symptoms,” Sexton continued.

After the health workers, first responders and seniors line up for the vaccine.

Health experts say it will be a few months before the general population can be vaccinated – possibly by the end of next year.

“I hope the message is that soon, by the end of the year, your time will come, that there will be enough vaccine for anyone who wants to get it, and this is just the beginning,” said Christy Norman, PharmD, Vice President of Pharmacy Services at Emory Healthcare.

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Doctors say you need two doses of the vaccine – but the side effects are minimal.

“There are certainly people who experience side effects like sore arms, fatigue, muscle aches, fever, and chills,” explained Sexton. “But two important things – one is that while these side effects look like COVID symptoms, they don’t mean you are contagious or that you can give COVID to anyone and only your immune system will respond to the vaccine.”

Doctors say seven out of ten people need the vaccine to achieve herd immunity.

The Georgia Department of Health says Phase 1B of the rollout will include first responders, teachers, and court clerks. Phase 2 will include people working in prisons, prisoners and people in shelters for the homeless; Phase 3 will be for those in the service industry such as hairdressers, bartenders, and waiters; and the final phase will be for children and the rest of the general population.