All Georgians over 16 eligible for COVID-19 vaccine Thursday

Southeast

SAVANNAH, GA – DECEMBER 15: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp arrives to witness health care workers receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of the Chatham County Health Department on December 15, 2020 in Savannah, Georgia. Kemp was on hand to witness initial administering of vaccines in the state. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

ATLANTA (AP) — All Georgians 16 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination beginning Thursday.

Gov. Brian Kemp made the announcement Tuesday, saying supplies of the vaccine continue to rise and that he’s confident that enough older adults have been vaccinated to open up inoculation to the broadest possible population.

Figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health show the state has administered 3.2 million doses overall, with nearly 2.1 million people getting at least one dose.

The number of doses being administered has shown a clear upward trend in recent weeks, with a peak of more than 85,000 doses given on March 15, the first day that Kemp expanded eligibility to current levels.

Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will get a boost in capacity starting Thursday when the Federal Emergency Management Agency adds doses to a site that had been run by Fulton County.

Measures still show demand outstripping supply in metro Atlanta, while appointments are abundant in other areas. Kemp said the state directed 70% of this week’s 450,000 doses to metro Atlanta and areas north of the city “to put more supply where the demand is highest.”

“In much of rural Georgia, south of Macon, the demand is much lower,” Kemp said.

Kemp said he would get vaccinated Friday in Waycross to try to highlight the availability of vaccines and the desirability to rural residents of getting protected.

Georgia continues to lag most other states in vaccination, ranking second worst behind Alabama in the number of doses administered per 100,000 people 18 and older.

Since March 15, people 55 and older, people with serious health conditions and those who are overweight and obese have been eligible. Also eligible are preschool and K-12 education employees, medical workers, emergency workers, residents and employees of long-term care facilities, intellectually disabled adults, and parents of children with certain complicated medical conditions. That’s

Kemp continues to focus on the state’s relative success in vaccinating people over 65, saying vaccinations of that older population has now topped 1 million, or about three-quarters of that population.

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