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First COVID-19 vaccines given in Pike

The first COVID-19 vaccines administered in Pike were given at the health department to 16 citizens in the medical and first responder fields. The first three to receive the vaccine were Dr. Jordan Brunson of Palmetto Family Dental, Dr. Frank Kirby and John Sullivan of Veterans Medical Transport who got the shot on his 21st birthday. ’We know that people over 65 are ready and excited to receive the vaccine but we are not sure how long before we will be able to start that,’ said Hayla Folden of the District 4 Georgia Department of Public Health. ‘We are still emphasizing the need for citizens to continue to wear masks, social distance and wash hands frequently – even if they get the vaccine.’ Folden said the Moderna vaccine was used for the first citizens in Pike and the delay in shipment of the vaccine is largely due to the logistics of creating accounts, ordering vaccines and the required shipping times. She said health care providers can call the health department at 770-567-8972 to make an appointment to get the free vaccine. ’As soon as we are able to offer the vaccine to larger numbers of the population we will move it outside as a drive-through so it can be administered to people in their cars,’ she said, noting that it may be several weeks before the vaccines are available to older citizens and others. She noted the vaccine was made available as soon as it has been due to previous work to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus diseases SARS and MERS. ’We know people are scared about the speed with which they released the virus but researchers had a base knowledge of how to fight so they didn’t have to start from scratch,’ she said. ‘We have been working so hard since March to help COVID-19 patients and this is the light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine is allowing us to give protection and hope to our citizens.’

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