Vaccines more accessible

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  • Billy Scoggins of Dewy Rose received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from The Medical Center’s Tina Mewborn at The Medical Center’s COVID-19 vaccine facility Jan. 13. The Medical Center announced Jan. 4 they were accepting appointments for established patients ages 65 and older by calling 706-283-3315. (Photo by Scoggins)
    Billy Scoggins of Dewy Rose received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from The Medical Center’s Tina Mewborn at The Medical Center’s COVID-19 vaccine facility Jan. 13. The Medical Center announced Jan. 4 they were accepting appointments for established patients ages 65 and older by calling 706-283-3315. (Photo by Scoggins)
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The Northeast Health District, including the Elbert County Health Department, is currently scheduling appointments for those in Phase 1A of the state's rollout plan for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Those in Phase 1A include healthcare personnel (those in clinical settings who are at risk for direct or indirect exposure to COVID-19 patients), residents of long-term care facilities and staff, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders and those at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness (adults 65 and older and their caregivers).

Wanda Graham, nurse manager at the Elbert County Health Department, said anyone who lives or works in Elbert County may call the Elbert County Health Department directly at 706-283-3775 to make an appointment locally.

Graham said vaccinations will be given on Wednesdays by appointment only at the Elbert County Health Department. Appointments are limited due to limited staffing.

Those who would like to schedule an appointment at any other location within the Northeast Health District must pre-register by completing the form on the Northeast Health District's website at https://bit.ly/NEHDNonHealthcareVaccine. You may also call 706-340-0996 to speak with someone. Lines are overwhelmed often and you may experience long hold times when calling.

The Northeast Health District also advised that if you are waiting on your call to be returned, calls may come from different numbers or area codes and may not show as a local call.

As of Jan. 7, the Northeast Health District had already given 2,000 vaccines with over 45,000 pre-registrations made as of Jan. 14.

The Medical Center of Elberton, which has been utilizing the Pfizer vaccines, continues to give up to 70 vaccinations a day at its facility next door to the main building. The Elberton health facility is making appointments for all eligible patients over 65 years of age. 

The Medical Center has already vaccinated emergency medical technicians, first responders and law enforcement officials in Elbert County, in addition to all of the school systems’ staffers who wanted to be vaccinated.

According to The Medical Center, they have both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but you will not be able to choose which vaccine you receive.

The Medical Center number is 706-283-3315.

Elbert Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kerry Trapnell said last week that the hospital is giving Moderna vaccinations one day a week and will soon go to two days a week.

The phone number at the hospital is 706-283-3151. Hospital staff will be put on a list and they will return your call at a later date.

The hospital started with approximately 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine and, according to Trapnell, they are requesting more vaccines “every week.”

Thus far, Trapnell said the hospital has begun with giving vaccinations to their own staff and other “community people.” Those vaccines would include persons over 65 years of age who live in Elbert County.

The hospital has purchased equipment to store the Pfizer vaccines that must be stored in extreme sub-zero temperatures.

Medlink Bowman, located at 206 East Church St. is now listed with Elbert Memorial Hospital on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website as a COVID-19 vaccination location.

According to the MedLink Georgia Facebook page, Medlink began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to residents ages 65 and older Monday, Jan. 11.

To schedule an appointment with Medlink, call 705-521-3113 and press 5 when prompted for Hartwell, Royston and Bowman. The DPH website also lists a COVID Vaccine Line for the Bowman location at 706-245-7361.

In addition to those locations, Ingles Pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens Pharmacy of Elberton has been active in either vaccinating the general public or venturing to long-term care homes to vaccinate. 

Ingles started vaccinating eligible patients on Thursday, Jan. 14, according to staff at the pharmacy. If you are on the 1A-plus list for vaccinations you can go to Ingles’ website and apply for the vaccine online.

An automated message from CVS Pharmacy of Elberton said COVID-19 vaccines are not currently available to the public and directs callers to keep a watch for information posted on their website at cvs.com. The pharmacy’s website says vaccines are only being administered “in limited areas by appointment only.”

When the vaccine is available to the public at the pharmacy, there will be no cost through insurance or a government program for the uninsured and appointments may be made online or through the CVS Pharmacy app.

An automated message from Walgreens of Elberton said the pharmacy could not make appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine at this time. 

According to the pharmacy’s website at walgreens.com, Walgreens is “currently delivering vaccinations to long-term care facilities and we’ll have vaccines for the public sometime in 2021.”