Cobb public health officials said Tuesday they understand public frustrations over distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, but asked for patience as they work to improve an online appointment booking program and to get more shipments of the vaccine.
During a virtual town hall held by Cobb County Government, Dr. Janet Memark, director of Cobb and Douglas Public Health, repeated remarks she made to county commissioners last week that “there’s not enough vaccine to meet the demand that we have.”
She also said she’s hopeful that by the time appointments for vaccines for next week are opened on Friday afternoon, that the health agency’s webpage that handles those bookings will be able to meet that high demand.
“We’re looking to move the site to another server” for appointments, she said.
(You can watch the full town hall at the bottom of this post.)
This is the second week people age 65 and older have been able to sign up for the vaccines, which are being given in a drive-through format at Jim Miller Park.
But the site crashed almost as soon as it was launched, and appointments were booked in just a matter of minutes.
In Georgia, only 80,000 vaccines are being distributed a week to a variety of public and private providers.
Cobb and Douglas Public Health has been providing several hundred vaccinations a week, with a goal of being able to get to around 1,200 or so, Memark said.
“We’re hoping that the federal government will be able to send more vaccines,” she said. “We’re doing the best we can with what we have.”
Lisa Crossman, the health agency’s assistant director, said there are 1,700 providers around the state, and urged residents to contact a variety of potential sources that may have vaccines, including their own physicians, pharmacies and employers.
Cobb residents don’t have to get a vaccine in the county, and the Georgia Department of Public Health has provided a vaccination locator that is being updated.
Phase 1A+ of the vaccine distribution in Georgia also includes caregivers of those who are 65 and older.
Memark said only one caregiver per eligible senior will be allowed to register to get the vaccine.
She also said her agency is beginning community outreach to provide vaccines for those who cannot come to Jim Miller Park, and to connect with seniors who are not Internet users.
Crossman suggested that friends and family members could help with the online appointment process, as well as provide transportation to get the vaccine.
Cobb and Douglas Public Health continues to provide COVID testing, and you’re asked to book an appointment by clicking here.
Memark said to make sure you’ve signed up for the right service, because “some people came for a vaccine when they signed up for a test.”
For both tests and vaccines, appointments are required and no walk-ups will be taken.
Crossman said there’s still a high demand for COVID tests, with the agency conducting more than 8,000 a week in both Cobb and Douglas counties.
Cobb continues to be a growing hot spot for COVID infection in Georgia, with 359 new confirmed cases on Tuesday.
The death toll also has been on a sharp rise recently in the county, with nine more deaths in Cobb reported Wednesday, for 637 overall since last March.
There have been 47 COVID deaths in January in Cobb, and Memark said this month is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months since the pandemic began.
Memark said a new variant of the virus has come to Cobb, and while it’s not considered as deadly, “it can make you sick enough. . . . We have to clamp down and do what we can until more vaccines arrive.”
She continued to encourage citizens to wash their hands and wear masks and socially-distance when in public, but to shelter-in-place as much as possible.
A second dose of the vaccine is coming for some who’ve already had an initial vaccination.
Crossman said that for those who’ve received a shot, they shouldn’t assume an instant effect.
“It takes your body a while to build up immunity,” she said, adding that depending on which vaccine people get there could be six weeks in between vaccinations.
“We don’t know if this is a vaccine that will be repeatedly yearly or if it’s going to be a one-tine thing.”
- Cobb health director: ‘There are just not enough vaccines’
- As Cobb COVID vaccine site crashes, Wellstar vaccines begin
- Cobb COVID vaccine appointment page crashes
- As COVID numbers soar, Cobb prepares for vaccine rollout
- Cobb COVID community spread numbers reach highest levels
- Georgia DPH launches vaccine dashboard
- East Cobb News Coronavirus Resource Page
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