Health care workers in Georgia get COVID-19 vaccine in first large-scale effort for state

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Some of the first health care workers in Georgia began getting COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday as Gov. Brian Kemp gave an update on how the vaccine will be distributed throughout the state.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas went to Savannah for the event, where he learned that hospitals in metro Atlanta are expected to begin receiving doses of the vaccine on Wednesday.

Workers at Savannah’s Candler Hospital started receiving doses in the state’s first large-scale vaccination effort following a news conference with Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey.

Doctors and nurses lined up down the hallway, waiting for their shot.

“How tough has this been on you personally?” Thomas asked emergency room nurse David Wilson

“Physically and emotionally draining,” Wilson said.

Wilson wanted to be one of the first in line to get the Pfizer vaccine in Georgia.

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Kemp and Toomey stood by to watch as some of the first doses were given outside the Savannah Department of Public Health.

The first 5,850 Georgia vaccine doses arrived at the hospital Monday night.

By Tuesday afternoon, the first large-scale vaccination of health care workers was underway at Savannah’s St. Joseph’s Candler Hospital.

Cheers went up as the first employee got her shot.

Toomey says nearly 80,000 more Pfizer doses and another 174,000 Moderna doses, once it’s approved, are earmarked for the state.

Metro Atlanta should get its first shipments within hours. But it all comes with a warning.

“The general public will not be vaccinated for months, so we need you to hunker down,” Kemp said.

For Wilson, he said getting the vaccine was an easy choice. He told Thomas that he’s not worried about side effects except for maybe a sore arm.

“I’ve heard it may bet sore, but I can handle it,” Wilson said.

The Moderna vaccine, which was tested right at Emory University Hospital, could get FDA approval by Friday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Georgia reported another 4,860 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.

Five of the last six days, new cases have been above the 4,000 mark.

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