Georgia rolls out COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers

Georgia News

ATLANTA (WSAV) – The state is rolling out its four-phase distribution plan now that Georgia has received 84,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

This week, health care workers were first in line as part of phase 1.

Many said this week that the shot, about 95 percent effective, is the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Because there is no actual virus involved, you don’t get the damage you get with a COVID-19 infection your lungs, your organs and tissues,” said Dr. Marybeth Sexton, an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine.

“While some of the vaccine symptoms can mimic COVID symptoms, they don’t include respiratory symptoms,” Sexton continued, “so people who have been vaccinated should not have shortness of breath or cough.”

After health care workers, first responders and seniors will be next in line for the vaccine.

Health experts say it will take several months before the general population can get vaccinated — possibly late next year.

“The message, I hope, is that your time will come soon, by the end of the year, that there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wishes to receive it and this is just the beginning of that,” said Christy Norman, PharmD, vice president of pharmacy services at Emory Healthcare.

Doctors say you will need two doses of the vaccine — but the side effects are minimal.

“There are certainly people who have side effects like a sore arm, fatigue, muscle aches, fevers and chills,” Sexton explained. “But two important things — one is that while those side effects look like COVID symptoms, they do not mean you’re contagious or you can give COVID to anyone and are just your immune system reacting to the vaccine.”

Doctors say seven out of 10 people have to get the vaccine to achieve herd immunity.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says phase 1B of the rollout will include first responders, teachers, court employees; phase 2 will include people who work at jails, prisoners and those in homeless shelters; phase 3 will be for those in the service industry like hair stylists, bartenders and waiters; and the last phase will be for children and the rest of the general population.

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