Mass vaccination site in Chatham Co. to close early Thursday due to severe weather threat

Mass vaccination site in Chatham Co. to close early Thursday due to severe weather threat

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County’s mass vaccination site opened on Wednesday at the Gulfstream facility. Georgia Emergency Management Agency leaders say they can do about 2,000 vaccinations in one day. On their first day, the site just had a few hundred scheduled.

“I just have been waiting and waiting and waiting to get this vaccination so I am thrilled to be here,” said Stacey Valant of Savannah, who received a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday,

“The first step toward feeling more comfortable to be able to go out and about,” said Mary Godlove, who also received her first dose.

It’s a St. Patrick’s Day unlike any other here in Savannah, with people showing up to get their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. This is one of nine sites throughout the state run by GEMA and open to anyone who lives in Georgia.

“All of our sites work exactly the same. They are at different locations, but they all work the same,” said Lisa Rodriguez-Presley, External Affairs Supervisor for GEMA. “You come, you bring your registration here with you, your QR Code, you meet the greeter, you go to the next station where they run through your questionnaire and then you get your vaccine. It’s super easy, really really fast and we’ve been moving people through pretty rapidly today.”

Their goal is to get people in and vaccinated in four to six minutes. Vaccine recipients do have to wait in observation for 15 to 30 minutes after their shot depending on their medical history.

A few of the participants I spoke with say it was easy and worth it. Some even said they pre-registered and got a spot as they became eligible on Monday under the latest vaccine eligibility expansion in Georgia.

“Very simple, ran quite smoothly, I don’t know how it could be improved,” said Godlove.

“We want for you to get vaccinated. The faster people get vaccinated, the faster life goes back to normal,” said Rodriguez-Presley. “We encourage you to go online and get registered.”

The mass vaccination site is by appointment only and several slots are still open. The site is on Gulfstream property and signs direct you there from Exit 104 off of Interstate 95.

“Gulfstream has had a longstanding commitment to our communities, especially here in Savannah that’s been our headquarters since 1967. So this is just another example of us giving back to the community and partnering with folks who are ready to give the vaccine,” said Mark Bennett of Public Affairs and Community Investments for Gulfstream Aerospace.

For some vaccine recipients, getting their shot today felt like an appropriate way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a pandemic.

“I’m definitely not going downtown. I might order out you and definitely support locally because I believe in that but I’ve waited this long, I’m not going to blow it now so I’ve had my earrings for a year, I’ve had my shirt for a year, I’ve had my hat for a year and I’m celebrating at home. I’m making corned beef and cabbage and having a green beer and lots of water,” said Valant.

The site will close early on Thursday due to the threat of severe weather. The site will close at 1 p.m.

GEMA states the site will close at 1p.m. All appointment holders will be rescheduled to arrive before 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 18.

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