AUGUSTA, Ga. – Right now, frontline workers and the most vulnerable are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in Georgia but more relief is coming as the state’s department of health plans to open additional vaccination sites in the CSRA.
“Our hospitals are overburdened currently and if I can implore anybody to get the vaccine right now during this time, please come down,” said emergency medicine physician Dr. Beck Abell.
Getting your COVID-19 vaccine can be a quick trip in the car. The Georgia Department of Health (East Central Health District) along with AU Health are operating the state’s only drive-thru vaccination site right off of 4th and Walton Street at Craigh-Houghton Elementary School.
Currently, the health department reports more than 183,000 people have been vaccinated statewide.
“We’re leading the way here in Augusta and I’m very proud to be a part of it,” said Dr. Abell.
Richmond County Health Department County Nurse Manager Rebecca Kershner explained, “Our greatest day that we’ve had has been right around 400 vaccinations given on that day. We are planning to ramp up that though whenever we start to have our return vaccinations.”
The goal is to vaccinate at least 600 people a day when all sites get up and running according to Kershner.
She said, “Some of the counties throughout our district, we have 13 counties, they are doing regional models currently and they are in planning phases right now. Some of them have even started providing vaccination in their counties.”
Once your online application is accepted by the health department, you will be notified by phone when to come to the drive-thru testing site. Upon arrival, you’ll need to bring a photo ID, sign a release form, then you’ll receive your first dose of the vaccine. Afterward, health care workers will observe you for about 30 minutes before you head home.
“We have had very few reactions, and they’re very rare to have reactions to it, so people are just coming here very grateful to have a vaccine. Those that have had reactions have been well taken care of by our hospital system at Augusta University and other surrounding hospitals,” said Kershner.
Dr. Abell added, “We’re doing our absolute best. The first responders are doing our best. The hospitals, we’re doing our best and we’re taking care of everybody to a maximum but what we want to do during this pandemic is actually come up with a cure. And that’s what the vaccine is about, to decrease the spread in the community so this is a community effort. It’s going to take us all together.”