ATLANTA – All Georgia residents age 16 and above will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine beginning this Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday.
This comes after the state received more than 400,000 additional doses this week and officials saying they have thousands of appointment times open for those eligible -- which currently is people 55 years old and above along with health care workers, school personnel and people with underlying health conditions.
Kemp said he’s confident that enough older adults have been vaccinated to open up inoculation to the broadest possible population.
“It is our ticket back to normal,” Kemp said of the vaccine.
This expansion of eligibility comes despite Kemp saying that Georgia has received the second-lowest amount of vaccines per 100,000 people of any state in the nation.
Figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health show just over 2.1 million people have received at least one dose and 1.1 million are fully vaccinated, or just under 20% of the adult population.
Georgia continues to lag most other states in vaccination, ranking second-worst behind Alabama in the number of doses administered per 100,000 people 18 and older.
FEMA and the U.S. Department of Defense have brought in additional resources making it possible to vaccinate 42,000 Georgians a week at the mass vaccination sites around the state -- including one at the Waycross Mall.
Kemp said he will travel to Waycross on Friday to get his first dose to help encourage people to get vaccinated in the southern and more rural counties, where the rates of people getting vaccinated are lagging.
Vaccinations are also available at thousands of pharmacies across the state.