AUGUSTA, Ga. – COVID-19 vaccination rollouts are speeding up here in the two-state region.
Starting Wednesday, South Carolina will join Georgia in making doses available to everyone 16 and up.
Most states across the U.S. are also starting to make big pushes to get the vaccine out.
Aiken Regional Medical Center is even allowing walk-ins at its Aiken County clinic on Wednesday.
The Moderna vaccine clinic will take place at the University of South Carolina Aiken’s Student Activities Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The clinic will have 1,130 first-dose vaccines to administer.
Participants need to wear a mask, and while walk-ins are welcome, those with appointments will not have to wait behind walk-ins to check-in. Those receiving their first dose vaccine tomorrow will be scheduled to receive their second dose on April 28.
The clinic will be open to a large number of people in the new vaccination group, but not everyone. That’s because the Moderna vaccine isn’t approved for patients under age 18.
Meanwhile, students, faculty and staff at Augusta University got shots on Monday.
Experts say it’s important to get students vaccinated right before spring break, and they’re hoping the clinic will get them back to normal by next school year.
AU won’t be making vaccination mandatory.
As vaccinations speed up, the White House says 3 million doses are now being administered every day nationwide.
Because of that, President Joe Biden says the U.S. is getting close to full vaccine eligibility, though he warns Americans not to loosen their guard. He says by that by April 19, 90 percent of adults will have access to the vaccine.
He says he expects the U.S. to hit a full 100 percent mark by May.
But getting more people vaccinated isn’t just about eligibility; another important figure is how many people are actually signing up.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over a third of U.S. adults, about 95 million people, have now gotten at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
The CDC also says just over a fifth of adults are now completely vaccinated.
So while about nine out of 10 adults can sign up, fewer than four in 10 have started the vaccination process.
It’s one of the concerns addressed by Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock during an exclusive interview with News 12 on Monday.
He told us he was encouraged by how AU Health is addressing concerns about some people not wanting to get the vaccine.
“They’re doing an admirable job with connecting to Black churches other communities of faith, other partners in the community in order to win people’s confidence that they need not fear the vaccine. It’s the virus that’s the problem,” he said.
“The sooner we get everyone vaccinated, we can get this pandemic under control. The better for our families, the better for our health. It saves lives and it’s going to help save our economy.”
Meanwhile, Georgia’s governor is now quarantining after possible exposure to coronavirus.
Gov. Brian Kemp’s office says he had a possible COVID exposure over the weekend while touring tornado damage in Newnan.
Kemp did get a vaccine one day before that potential exposure, but health officials say it can take weeks before the vaccine gives you immunity.
He tested negative, but is quarantining out of caution.