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Hospitals get hands on vaccine, but some can’t administer until next phase



AUGUSTA, Ga. – We’ve seen drive-thru lines from hospitals all pandemic long, but now it’s not just testing sites. Now we’re seeing vaccination sites.

Our district Department of Public Health is giving some Augustans, 65 years and older, their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, thousands of doses wait in refrigerators at University Hospital.

“Next we will focus more on physician practices and start expanding in the very near future to individuals ages 65 and older,” Marie Jackson, director of pharmacy for University, said.

Jackson says they’ve received around 6,300 vaccine doses. They’ve administered around 2,100 doses to much of their healthcare staff, with many still left to go. Even then, doctors tell us there are several thousand doses in storage.

But why?

They say they have to wait until Monday for the 65 years and older phase to open, and then they’ll coordinate with the Department of Public Health.

“As that expands, we will be able to work in conjunction with them to expand that fit in the phase 1a category,” Jackson said.

Yet our district of the Department of Public Health is already vaccinating that group.

“Question: “Why have they had to wait? I’m not sure about their plans or what their vaccine strategies are. I can just tell what ours are,” Dr. Stephen Goggans.

Dr. Goggans is the director of the East Central district of the Department of Public Health.

“My approach has been: if we have appointments and vaccine, we should try to administer the vaccine,” he said.

At the vaccination testing site, there’s been a line since early this morning. AU Health also says they’re trying to figure out how to become a public vaccination site. They are supposed to be working with the DPH to expand.

“There are thousands of entities that want to get enrolled as vaccination delivery sites. Right now, what is constraining that is just the availability of vaccine in the state of Georgia,” Goggans said.

Some sites have it, they just say they can’t do anything with it just yet.