Gov. Kemp: Vaccine rollout steady but ‘heavy logistical lift’

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Gov. Brian Kemp says Georgia is “making steady progress” distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, on track to deliver 80,000 doses a week.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), more than 135,000 inoculations have been performed. But Kemp said the state is seeing significant underreporting and work is being done to ensure the data is up to date and accurate.

“Look, I’m pleased with how hard everybody is working, but I’m not happy with where we are,” he said. “We’ve got to keep moving the needle — we’re working on that every single day.”

Kemp says Georgia faces a “heavy logistical lift” in the rollout, which is weighing on local health departments.

Those with adequate vaccine supply are expanding services to adults age 65 and older, their caregivers and emergency first responders but the response has been overwhelming.

Watch Friday’s full press conference:

“We knew there would be a lot of interest from the expanded Phase 1a group, but we clearly didn’t have the infrastructure in place to handle the number of calls we received,” the Coastal Health District (CHD) stated Friday. “We’re working to try to improve the process.”

Kemp echoed CHD’s call for continued patience.

“Public health staff have been working tirelessly for months to battle the pandemic and are working quickly to scale up appointments and call centers to assist the public in getting vaccinated,” he said.

The governor says Georgia will have the capacity to distribute nearly 11,500 doses of the vaccine per day. And DPH will soon launch a web page where Georgians can log on to find locations to schedule vaccine appointments at health departments, pharmacies, grocery stores and some hospitals.

Meanwhile, the first case of the new coronavirus variant, B117, was identified in the state this week. DPH said the patient is an 18-year-old but did not specify where in Georgia he lives.

Since the start of the pandemic, DPH has confirmed more than 600,000 COVID-19 cases in Georgia, and the state’s death toll has surpassed 10,000. Daily case totals and hospitalizations have remained high over the course of the holiday season.

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