South Health District Officials Update City Councilmembers on COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts
VALDOSTA, Georgia – On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, City Officials met with the South Health District representatives to present the latest COVID-19 information and answer questions from Councilmembers.
Dr. William Grow, South Health District Director, and Courtney Sheeley, Director of Communications & Special Projects, appeared at the Valdosta City Council Special Called Meeting to update councilmembers on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts.
On Wednesday, January 13, South Health District reached a cumulative count of more than 20,000 COVID-19 cases documented. According to local health officials, vaccination began in Lowndes County on Friday, December 18, and has been a steady effort since then.
“We offered the vaccine to our 240 South Health District employees at the beginning; initially, we had only 40 takers. I even went first,” said Dr. Grow. “At this point we have now had more than 100 employees vaccinated.”
Health care works and first responders had access to the vaccine early on. On Thursday, December 30, Governor Brian Kemp extended the vaccination 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.
“On Friday, December 31, we opened up our online registration for a vaccination with callbacks to schedule an appointment. By Monday morning, three days later, we 1,500+ registered with hundreds per day since then.”
South Health District officials say they began vaccination efforts for Tier 1A on Monday, January 11. On that day, 270 people were vaccinated, with a staff of only eight nurses.
“It averages about five minutes per appointment. Each patient must come in the front door, be registered, get basic information, and consent. The patient then goes through an education process, receives the vaccination, and is put in the observation room for 15 to 30 minutes depending on how at-risk you are,” said Dr. Grow.
Health District officials say they have kept that same pace in the days following, with the same staffing numbers.
“We are working as hard as we can work, trust me,” said Dr. Grow.
Officials announced at the meeting that beginning Monday, January 18, South Health District is opening a COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru in Lowndes County. This site will be open in addition to the Lowndes County Health Department.
South Georgia Medical Center also began a drive-thru vaccination effort on Monday, January 11.
“We have such a great relationship with the hospital. We were thrilled when they were able to open and take some of the burden off our staff. We encourage any large providers in town; if you have the ability and want to give the vaccine, then absolutely we encourage them to enroll and start getting the vaccine. This is a complete community partnership,” said Sheeley.
South Health District Officials work around the clock to get extra volunteers such as Licensed Practical Nurse, Medical Techs, EMTs and registered nurses. South Health District Staff are also working with area university student nurses to volunteer in different areas.
Anyone interested in volunteering in the vaccination efforts can register at http://servga.gov/
“More than likely, our volunteers will be stationed in our drive-thru, telling people where to go once they arrive. We do have these volunteer opportunities available,” said Sheeley.
Vaccination through public health is free. The online vaccination registration will register you for a callback by one of our county health departments to schedule your appointment. Filling out the survey DOES NOT schedule your appointment. Your appointment will be scheduled and confirmed after you are contacted by a health department staff member.
South Health District staff would also like to remind everyone that they receive a limited allotment of the vaccine each week and that the supply of vaccine determines how many people they can vaccinate.
For the latest information, citizens are encouraged to visit https://southhealthdistrict.com
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