Ga. DPH cracking down on out-of-state travelers trying to get vaccinated

Ga. DPH looking for volunteers to help with COVID-19 vaccines

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - While states scramble to get more COVID-19 vaccines, people are also in a rush to get vaccinated. Even going as far as traveling to other states.

Health officials say they’re seeing it happen in the Peach State.

Chatham County Health Department’s nurse manager said, at first, she didn’t expect people to cross state lines to get vaccinated. But she says it makes sense, Chatham County is a border county.

At the health department, she says they’ve seen people from Florida, South Carolina, even New Hampshire trying to set up an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We do realize people’s frustration. You know, people are afraid and they’re anxious to get the vaccine,” Chatham County Nurse Manager Tammi Brown.

Anyone who plans to travel to Georgia in hopes of getting the vaccine won’t have much luck.

“We’ll let them know that unless they either work in Georgia or have a part-time home in Georgia, they’re not allowed to get our Georgia vaccine,” Brown said.

Brown says that’s a directive given by the Georgia Department of Health. The vaccine allotment given to the state by the government is based on Georgia’s population, so Georgians must be prioritized first.

“We hope people respect that and try not to get around it.”

When those eligible for the vaccine call the health department to make an appointment, they are required to prove their residency or work in the state with a driver’s license or work badge ID.

“They’re reading the information to us, but when they come in for their appointment, we may ask to see it,” Brown said.

If they don’t have any type of identification, the health department will ask a series of questions to determine eligibility. Brown says the county health department has turned away many people from out of state.

“People do get upset when we explain that we can’t do it.”

And hopes other local vaccine providers are doing the same, so the state’s rollout doesn’t slow down.

Health officials say if someone has already received their first dose and live out of state, they will find a way to accommodate that individual and give the second dose.

To be fair, health officials are also asking Georgians to be patient and not leave the state to get vaccinated.

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