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Issues of vaccine supply versus demand continue to plague local hospitals



AUGUSTA, Ga. – By the end of next week, University Hospital will have administered more than 20,000 vaccinations. But they’re hoping for more, as supply continues to be a problem.

After two postponed clinics, Catherine Hickey finally got her second dose.

“It was kind of frightening if I was going to get that second one or not, maybe miss the boat. But I had no doubts,” she said.

When she came for her first dose, she expected: “A backlog, cattle call and it was so much better.”

We followed her through the process, from sign in to vaccination and finally to sitting down with us, all in about five minutes.

“I think we’ve become even more efficient than we were in the beginning,” Reyne Gallup with University Hospital said.

Gallup explained the process: it starts in the parking lot, and then a whole room of volunteers and staff keeps the rollout engine running smoothly.

But there’s one part of the engine that’s struggling: the supply.

“It’s a little unexpected that we are not getting the first dose supply of vaccine,” Gallup said. “We are kind of doing a new strategy. What does it look like in the future for us for first-dose clinics? Whether we need to do smaller clinics, instead of large.”

“We’ve strategized about moving out into the school systems and doing those in the evenings after school is out,’ Gallup said.

But those strategies can only happen when there is consistent supply. University is hoping a new vaccine will help.

“When Johnson & Johnson comes online, that’ll be another avenue for us to get more vaccines in the community to get shots in arms,” Gallup said.

Gallup says that could lead to outreach in areas like southern Richmond County. But for now, they’re focused on getting shots in arms– where possible.

“It’s very easy. It doesn’t hurt. It’s easy, fast, and doesn’t disrupt your life,” Hickey said. “Better safe than sorry.”

University says they don’t have any first-dose clinics scheduled in the state of Georgia for the foreseeable future. But next week in South Carolina, there’s a clinic at Millbrook Baptist Church.