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Gov. Kemp expands criteria for COVID-19 vaccine in Ga.

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*(WTOC)
Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 8:48 PM EST
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GEORGIA (WTOC) - Georgia Governor Kemp has announced plans to add adults aged 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders to the current group of individuals eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination.

He made the announcement Wednesday night. Healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities are already in this highest priority group.

The expanded administration of the vaccine is expected to begin within the next two weeks, if there is an adequate vaccine supply available.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says they are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for prioritizing vaccinations. Each state has the ability to tailor these recommendations based on specific needs and vaccine availability.

“Following the expert guidance of Dr. Toomey, the CDC, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Georgia will move to expand Phase 1a vaccination criteria within the next two weeks to include the elderly, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders - provided the state continues to receive adequate vaccine supplies,” said Governor Kemp. “We will continue to monitor the administration efforts of our public health workers and partners in the private sector, and the supply chain of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to ensure eligible Georgians are vaccinated without delay.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health says it is still critical that even as the vaccine comes available to more people, everyone must continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing illness in those being vaccinated, the Georgia Department of Public Health says it is not yet known if the vaccine fully prevents person to person transmission or asymptomatic infections.

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