ATLANTA – Governor Brian Kemp announced on Tuesday that all Georgians 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting this week.
Eligibility will open to any adult wishing to be vaccinated as of Thursday.
[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]
After his major announcement, the governor spoke exclusively with Handle 2 anchors Jovita Moore and Jorge Estevez sure Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m.
“We’re still seeing high demand on the Atlanta subway, but we’ve got plenty of resources coming here. We’re starting to see older populations – we focused on them – stabilize, ”Kemp said. “We had a drop in demand south of the midges line, the Augusta-Macon-Columbus area. We don’t want any doses in the freezers. So we open it on Thursday. “
[Q&A: How can I book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Georgia? Which shots are available?]
The state received 450,000 vaccines, including the first and second doses, this week and expects an increase from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson next week.
Kemp said Georgia received the second lowest number of vaccines per 100,000 population compared to other states, according to the CDC website.
[LIST: Where are Georgia’s mass vaccination sites?]
The governor said the number of doses shipped to the state has been out of their control since day one, but the state is continually speaking with the federal government about the shipments.
“We just have to keep moving forward. We need to keep getting people vaccinated. This is why we are opening it. We have a lot of availability there. Even if people sign up today, if they can’t find an appointment for this week, I would go ahead and plan for next week as our supply grows. We will continue to send doses where the demand is, ”Kemp said.
[QUICK LINKS: Here’s where you can get COVID-19 vaccines around metro Atlanta]
Kemp stressed the importance of being patient when trying to sign up for the vaccine.
“As we’ve said before, we know that when we take action like this it’s going to create high demand, especially in Metro Atlanta. We will have to work through this, ”he said. “I visited the Mercedes-Benz site. They now have appointments available that you can get for next week. They can fill up quickly, but there are other local sites. “
Steve Gehlbach de Channel 2 also visited the Mercedes-Benz Stadium mass vaccination site that Kemp visited earlier on Tuesday.
It will be the largest vaccination site in Georgia and the Southeast. The stadium has been open since January with a single small section or pod, administering around 1,000 shots per day.
FEMA will take over the site on Wednesday and open five more pods. The site will now be able to perform 6,000 vaccinations per day, seven days a week.
There will be 700 workers who will use the three levels of the hall. Over the next eight weeks, the site will vaccinate approximately 210,000 people with more than 400,000 doses.
The governor’s decision to open vaccines to all adults was greeted with praise from Georgia Democrats and Republicans on the State Capitol.
[RELATED: Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine appointments now available at Mercedes-Benz Stadium]
Richard Elliot de Channel 2 spoke with officials on both sides of the political aisle who said the expected announcement was good news.
“If I had had the choice, I would have done it a little differently. The teachers would have been among the first, but I’m happy that everyone has the opportunity to participate to get it. He’s late, ”said Democratic State Representative Roger Bruce.
“People over 65, we have gone through certain parameters to guide the arrival of vaccines. Now that we are getting more and more of it, we must offer it to anyone who wants it, ”said Republican Representative Emory Dunahoo.