UPDATE: GA COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Criteria & Locations Expanded

March 11, 2021

By Cookie Suarez, Publisher, Macaroni Kid Buckhead-Midtown-Brookhaven & Sandy Springs-Dunwoody-Chamblee-Doraville February 25, 2021

Disclaimer: I am sharing resources to help you make an informed decision and to prevent the spread of misinformation. Information shared in this article is directly from the CDC or the GA Department of Public Health. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have specific questions or concerns about your personal medical conditions and vaccination.   

COVID-19 vaccines are available in Georgia and they are working hard to vaccinate as many people as they can to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19. Please continue to protect yourself, your family, and your community. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and practice social distancing. Please avoid crowds and close contact with people, especially indoors or around those who are sick. Follow CDC's guidelines if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19Please do not go out and infect others until you complete the recommended quarantine.

As of March 11, 2021, the following people are eligible to make an appointment to receive the vaccine:

  • Healthcare workers in clinical settings (e.g., nurses, physicians, EMTs, laboratory technicians, environmental services)
  • Staff and residents of long-term care facilities
  • All law enforcement and fire personnel (including volunteer departments)
  • Adults aged 65 and older and their caregivers
  • EMS Personnel & 9-1-1 Operators
  • Educators and staff (Pre-K, K-12, DECAL licensed or exempt childcare programs)
  • Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers
    • Intellectual Disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 22.
    • A developmental disability is a physical or mental impairment that happens before the age of 22, is expected to last a lifetime, and impacts at least three activities of daily living. Activities of daily living include self-care; receptive and expressive language; learning; mobility; self-direction; capacity for independent living; and economic self-sufficiency.
  • Parents of children with complex medical conditions
    • Malignancies requiring active treatment
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including organ transplant (bone marrow or solid organ) within 2 years
    • Critical congenital heart disease
    • Asthma (moderate to severe)
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity (BMI >95%)
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Significant neurologic injury or condition (e.g. hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, traumatic brain injury, congenital anomaly, acute flaccid myelitis) with functional/developmental impairment (e.g. cerebral palsy, developmental disability, prematurity, mitochondrial disease)
    • Technology dependence (e.g. BiPAP, trach)

For individuals aged 16 and 17 who are in an eligible population for vaccination, Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for these ages. Please schedule an appointment at CVS or Walgreens or at one of the GEMA mass vaccination sites to ensure Pfizer vaccine is available.

On March 15, 2021, COVID-19 Vaccine eligibility will expand to those 55 and older, beginning March 15, as well as adults with serious health conditions, as defined by the CDC.

Pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine at the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency site or the Department of Public Health appointment COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment website.

  COVID-19 Vaccine Site Locations

Vaccines are limited and may require scheduling appointments online. Note that many places are not booking appointments until they receive more doses of vaccine. Please be patient and check back frequently as they release appointments based on vaccine supply availability. 

Click on the links below to locate a COVID-19 Vaccination Site near you. For the most updated information about COVID-19 and the vaccine, visit the CDC or Georgia Department of Public Health websites. 

Visit the website to pre-register online. 

  TOP 5 Questions and Answers

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Click here to get Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

All the COVID-19 vaccines being used have gone through rigorous studies to ensure they are as safe as possible. Systems that allow CDC to watch for safety issues are in place across the entire country.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines that have been shown to meet rigorous safety criteria and be effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials.

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?

The currently authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States require 2 shots to get the most protection:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
  • Moderna doses should be given 1 month (28 days) apart

You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.

If you have additional questions, please visit the following websites.

CDC: COVID-19 Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Caring for Newborns

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations for People who are Pregnant of Breastfeeding

CDC: Vaccination Considerations for Persons with Underlying Medical Conditions

CDC: What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine (Common Side Effects)

Dekalb County Board of Health COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Fulton County COVID Vaccine Information

Gwinnett County Health Department

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