Health officials: If you don’t live or work in Georgia, you can’t get vaccinated here


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Some people want the COVID-19 vaccine so badly — they’re hopping state lines to get it.

Health officials say no state has enough vaccine to supply to cover it’s own population, never mind the people coming from out of state.

“Interesting problem that I never anticipated,” said Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Christine McCarthy, a resident of South Carolina, says the Chatham County Health Department scheduled her appointment for Monday morning. She says when she arrived and notified them of her South Carolina residency, they turned her away.

“You know, it’s disappointing because you did make the appointment, you didn’t say there were any requirements,” said McCarthy.

She says staff members did reach out to the county commissioner, but he refused to make the exception.

McCarthy says she and her husband were pushed out of Phase 1a in South Carolina when Gov. Henry McMaster adjusted the age requirement to 70 and older.

“It’s just like ‘Hunger Games,’ I guess,” said McCarthy.

Staff at the Coastal Health District admit there was some confusion in the beginning, but now they’re cracking down on the residency requirements.

Exceptions are made for people who work here but live in a different state, and for those who live in Georgia for only part of the year.

“Somebody who is eager to get the vaccine and they are here and they don’t happen to by living here part of the year or working here routinely,” said CHD Director Dr. Lawton Davis, “I would, unfortunately, have to ask them to go back and try at home.”

Davis says if you don’t meet requirements but already got your first shot, they will still follow through on the second one.

“You know, I believe if we gave someone first dose, then we owe them the second dose,” said Davis. “I just think that’s the right thing to do.”

He says they will post signs outside their locations to remind people of the requirements.

Once they roll out their online application service, Davis says it will ask you if you live or work in Georgia. For now, staff will ask those questions over the phone.

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