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Vaccine eligibility expands

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Gov. Brian Kemp recently announced the state will expand its vaccine eligibility March 15, 2021, to include adults aged 55 and older, individuals with disabilities and certain medical conditions.

A press release from the office of the governor said that adding Georgians over the age of 55 and those at high risk to COVID-19 will make vaccines available to categories that account for 92 percent of deaths due to COVID-19 in Georgia.

Right now, people eligible include those 65 and older, teachers, emergency workers, medical workers, employees and residents of long-term care facilities, intellectually disabled adults and caregivers of some children with medical conditions.

Adults younger than 55 who will qualify include those who have asthma, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease. Those who are overweight and obese will also qualify.

According to DPH, approximately a third of all Georgians are counted as obese, which adds a large expansion to the vaccine list.

In Troup County, 8,222 vaccines have been administered to residents with 4,957 being dose one, according to DPH data.

Hayla Folden of District 4 Public Health said that as the governor was speaking Tuesday they immediately started getting calls. All vaccine appointments for Friday, March 19 are full but Folden said to check back next week for more appointment slots.

Monday is a private vaccination appointment for just teachers that signed up through Troup County School System.

Folden said DPH has to wait to receive more shipments of vaccines before making more appointments.

To find a vaccine location or to schedule an appointment, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

For individuals aged 16 and 17 who are in an eligible population for vaccination, Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for these ages.