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Augusta University preparing for COVID-19 vaccine distribution expansion



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Progress being made on the fight against COVID-19 in Georgia, Wednesday, as Governor Kemp announced more people can get vaccinated starting next week. Augusta University’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phillip Coule says they are ready.

He said, “With the new J&J vaccine coming online, that will add some additional supply into the system that should help to alleviate some of the needier.”

While AU waits for their first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, no additional staff will be needed at AU vaccination sites for the incoming patients.

“What AU and our medical professionals and pharmacists and other people are doing in those areas has just been unbelievable. So, we don’t want to stand up another site. We’ll just continue to send them more of the supply as we get it,” said Kemp.

Coule said, “We’ve gotten to the point where we got people that have significant medical conditions that are at high risk from getting or having a bad outcome from COVID and now this allows those people to be vaccinated. Certainly, those over 55 are at a higher risk.”

The latest vaccine eligibility requirements also include adults with serious health conditions defined by the Centers for Disease Control.

“Some of the saddest cases would be those that are breast cancer survivors but 64-and-a-half-year-old, they technically haven’t met criteria yet prior to this. Or somebody with severe lung disease who really is at high risk for a bad outcome from COVID but hasn’t yet turned 65 but prior to this change. Those people weren’t eligible and now they are and that’s really good news,” said Coule.

AU hopes to vaccinate 10,000 people by the end of the week.

Coule added, “And we have other providers that are also doing well in the area and it really takes everyone to be successful on this in order to fight COVID.”