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As public vaccinations open up, local hospitals see reason for hope



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Vaccinations from AU Health ended just before 5 p.m. on Thursday, but Augusta University Health says it was a huge success. We saw very few lines and many smiling faces. All were thankful for the new hope of a vaccine.

It’s a line many would give a lot to wait in.

Brenda Kitt-Brightharp is just grateful to get an appointment.

“I was so excited to get it because I want to live,” Kitt-Brightharp said. “It’s important to live.”

She’s seen family and friends pass due to COVID-19 — a familiar reality for many.

“I’m very, very thankful,” Joseph Presperry said. “Very thankful.”

Presperry was in and out in 20 minutes. He’s looking forward to seeing his grandkids.

“Get your shots,” Presperry said. “When your time comes around, get your shot, and wear your mask.”

More than a thousand through AU and more than 2,000 through University Hospital were vaccinated Thursday. It’s AU’s first official day of public vaccinations.

“So as soon as we hear additional information from the Department of Public Health, we hope to be announcing additional vaccine clinics very soon,” AU Health vaccine coordinator Dr. Joshua Wyche said.

Wyche says AU opened up several more vaccination dates Thursday morning. Appointments were gone in 30 minutes.

“It is great that we are not seeing as much vaccine hesitancy than maybe some of us had feared, and it’s great that’s it’s filling up after 20 to 30 minutes online,” Wyche said.

Health officials say without the community’s help, today wouldn’t have been a success. Many volunteered and stepped up to help take a step towards change.

“We want to see life, and I think 2021… I think it’s going to make a change,” Kitt-Brightharp said.

All local vaccinations are by appointment only. Both AU and University are asking everyone to be respectful and don’t show up on site. They are also asking the public to trust that more appointments will open over the weeks and months ahead.