First shipments of COVID-19 vaccine arrive in coastal Georgia

    Two public health facilities with ultracold freezers required for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine received the first shipments of 5,850 doses Monday. Photo courtesy Georgia Department of Public Health.

    Two coastal Georgia public health facilities with ultracold freezers required for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine received the first shipments of 5,850 doses Monday, Georgia Department of Public Health officials said.

    Health care workers are among the first in line for vaccination including here in Georgia.

    No vaccine in history has ever been developed so fast, and experts with Emory’s hospital systems are excited to distribute a vaccine from Pfizer they are calling “safe and effective.”

    “We placed orders for enough vaccine to take care of our entire community here at Emory Health Care,” Emory’s Vice President of Pharmacy Services Dr. Christy Norman said.

    She said they are ready to start vaccinating employees within 24 hours of receiving the shipment.

    “We’re ready,” Norman said. “Whether they show up today or tomorrow, we’ll be ready to begin vaccinating our teams.”

    At this time, only residents in long-term care facilities and health care workers are able to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to give Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization later this week. Assuming the vaccine is authorized for use by the FDA, shipments of the Moderna vaccine should begin arriving in Georgia next week.

    Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey are scheduled to appear at the Chatham County Health Department Tuesday afternoon to to mark initial shipments and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines in Georgia.

    This story appears in the Georgia Recorder through a partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting.

    Ellen Eldridge
    Ellen Eldridge is a health care reporter for Georgia Public Broadcasting. She has previously worked as a breaking news reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The topics she most often writes about are mental and other health care issues, as well as public policy and safety.