COVID-19 booster shots started Monday for Georgians who meet criteria

ATLANTA — Monday marks the first day that the COVID-19 booster shot is available statewide through the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending the Pfizer booster shot for older and at-risk Americans at least six months after receiving their second dose.

Currently, Pfizer is the only company to have a booster shot approved by the FDA. The booster is only available for those who initially received the Pfizer vaccine.

Groups that the CDC is recommending get the booster shot include people 65 and older, people between 50 and 64 with underlying medical issues and those over 18 in long-term care facilities.

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The CDC says other groups may get the booster shot if they choose: people between 18 and 49 with underlying medical issues and people between 18 and 64 at increased risk for exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting.

Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas was in Duluth Monday, where demand was not overwhelming.

The site can handle up to 1,500 people a day, but just a handful of people trickled in at a time. The Gwinnett Department of Health ramped up staffing at the site just in case.

Other sites were reporting similar traffic, but local and national leaders hope those who qualify will hear the word and get their boosters.

Linda Cleary, 66, who is a bus driver, was one of the first at the Duluth site to get her booster shot on Monday. She said her family will be next.

“They are going to come down tomorrow with my husband,” Cleary said.

Bryan Williams got his booster Monday.

“It’s going to take time for people to get over here and start taking their shots,” he said.

For right now, only people who have had the Pfizer vaccine can get vaccinated and you must show proof on your vaccine card.

National Institute of Health director Francis Collins said they should have data in the next few weeks as to whether shots can be mixed and matched.

“(The data) will make it clear whether mixing and matching is a good option,” Collins said.

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To register for an appointment to get the COVID-19 booster shot, click here.

According to the Department of Public Health, 47% of Georgians are fully vaccinated and 54% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.