COVINGTON, Ga. — Gwinnett, Newton & Rockdale County Health Departments have administered 53,000 vaccinations and counting across the area.
Chad Wasdin, who serves as communications director and public information officer for the departments, said the number above was the cumulative total as of Tuesday, March 2. He said a breakdown of how many vaccinations had been administered per county was not available.
Georgians who are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, which will include teachers and school staff beginning Monday, March 8, can get the vaccine anywhere it’s being provided within the state, Wasdin said.
The nearest mass vaccination site to Newton County residents is still Springfield Baptist Church, located at 1877 Iris Dr. SE in Conyers. Wasdin said despite its Rockdale County location, Newton residents are encouraged to schedule appointments at the church. Appointments to get a vaccine at the church must be made on the local health department’s at gnrhealth.com/covid-vaccine-scheduling/. Walk-ins will not be accepted, Wasdin said.
If residents want to try and schedule an appointment somewhere else, Wasdin encouraged them to use the state health department’s COVID vaccine site locater tool at dph.georgia.gov/locations/covid-vaccination-site, which includes retail pharmacy locations, private providers and a link to other mass vaccination sites across Georgia. Wasdin noted that booking options may vary by provider and appointment availability would be dependent on vaccine supply.
People are also encouraged to pre-register for a vaccine appointment on the state’s sign-up website (myvaccinegeorgia.com/), even if they are not yet eligible. The website will automatically alert people once they’re eligible and will schedule an appointment.
As of Tuesday, there have been more than 820,000 total positive COVID-19 cases recorded in Georgia since the pandemic began. There have 15,209 deaths.
In Newton County, there have been 6,891 total COVID-19 cases recorded — 232 coming within the last two weeks — and 182 deaths. The county recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus almost one year ago, on March 12, 2020.
A third vaccine will soon be available. The first two vaccines that were FDA-approved in December are being produced by Moderna and Pfizer. Both require multiple doses.
The third vaccine is being produced by Johnson & Johnson and will only require one dose. An emergency use authorization was approved for the vaccine by the FDA on Feb. 27. Unlike the other vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot jab can be stored at a slightly higher temperature in a refrigerator and has been determined more cost effective. The others must be kept in freezers.
Wasdin said the local health departments do not yet know how much of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be allocated to Georgia.