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Georgia’s mass vaccination sites will close Friday

More than 2,000 people have been vaccinated at the GEMA Mass Vaccination Site at Gulfstream.
More than 2,000 people have been vaccinated at the GEMA Mass Vaccination Site at Gulfstream.(WTOC)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 10:10 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been here since St. Patrick’s Day, but will soon be gone. GEMA’s mass vaccination site at Gulfstream will give their last shot Friday afternoon.

Officials say the mission was far from what they are used to but are leaving proud of what they have accomplished in three months’ time.

They are expecting to have vaccinated over 28,000 doses by the end of Friday when they finish up in the Coastal Empire. At the highest point, this site was giving more than 5,400 vaccines a day. Recently that declined dramatically to less than 1,000.

It is because of this and the widespread availability that GEMA is focusing on their next concern.

“You know a lot of people don’t realize how small an agency GEMA is. We are 150 people, so this has been a tremendous mission. I mean it’s been all hands on deck for these eight sites and now with hurricane season coming up, you know, we have to shift our focus to that because we’ve already got you know a tropical disturbance out in the Atlantic now,” GEMA External Affairs Supervisor Lisa Rodriquez-Presley said.

With fewer cars rolling though and less shots being given, GEMA is preparing to pack up and move on to their next assignment. But before they go, some are taking advantage of the quick and easy access at the mass site.

“It’s almost like a peace of mind, you know, the burden is off your shoulder you know. It was smooth coming out here, you can pull right in and I’m going to be out in about 5-10 minutes you know so it couldn’t have been much smoother than that,” said Craig Ellison, who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Two weeks from now, Ellison will be fully vaccinated after one dose. That is why he wanted to go to the mass site.

“I’m starting a new job Monday and I am going to be more exposed to the public and it was already on my list to get it done, however I figure a one shot, I mean why not and for the safety of my family,” Ellison said.

Since announcing their closure, the mass site has offered J&J for those new to the site and given 316 shots but have continued offering second shots of Pfizer like to Lindsey who’s ready to get to Disney once fully vaccinated.

“It was really simple just making the appointment online was super convenient. For me getting the shot was just so I would be able to go out and live life with my kids, not be able to be confined anymore and be able to go out and enjoy life again,” Lindsey Volz said.

Those through the site today were grateful to get their shot before the site closes. The mass site has helped vaccinate more than 13,800 people, a job they are proud of.

“I think we were a part of a much bigger mission and our contribution to that was pretty substantial we really I think helped to jump start this by making it so much easier for people to come through and get vaccinated,” Rodriquez-Presley said.

While the site is closing, officials say it doesn’t change how critical vaccinations are, especially if want to beat COVID.

“We’re feeling better every day more and more people are getting vaccinated and it’s so important that they understand that even though these sites are closing they still need to go get vaccinated. There’s so much availability you can go to your local pharmacy, you can go to a health department, but getting vaccinated is going to be the key to eradicating the virus,” Rodriquez-Presley said.

As for this site, it will take them a bit to tear down the site. They are expected to start that on Monday.

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