US’s Georgia administration to open five mass-vaccination sites

A sign that reads "our children deserve better safe choice now" is seen on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Just down the road from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a community flush with resident health professionals, the Decatur school system had no shortage of expert input on whether to resume in-person classes amid the coronavirus pandemic. Scores of public health and medical professionals from the affluent, politically liberal Atlanta suburb have weighed in about what's best for their own kids’ schools.

Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgia’s government will open five more mass-vaccination sites later this month as he defended the state’s performance in delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

The state will open sites beginning March 17, joining four sites the state is already running. The Republican governor said Wednesday that the sites are being set up in advance of a further expansion of vaccine eligibility in the state to be announced later this month.

Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Georgia has administered only 68% of the vaccines it has received and has 1 million unadministered doses. The data show only the District of Columbia and Kansas lag further behind.

Georgia officials have disputed the CDC data for weeks and said some health providers are slow to report when they put shots in arms. The state’s own numbers show it has given 76% of available vaccines, which would be in the middle of the pack among states, if no other states were allowed to adjust their numbers. Still, that’s 700,000 doses on hand, when the state is getting 200,000 doses this week, rising to 223,000 next week.

“We can’t control who’s holding second doses,” Kemp said. “I don’t think they should be doing that. They should be giving those doses. The supply chain is caught up. They don’t need to be doing that any more. They need to get shots in arms.”

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