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District 2 Public Health partnering with schools, churches, senior communities to administer COVID-19 vaccines
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Certified medical assistant Sabrina Edge, of the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, gives Ron Davidson a COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, at the Northeast Georgia Health System Corporate Plaza during the health system's second vaccine clinic for those 65 and over at the site. - photo by Scott Rogers

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District 2 Public Health has set up vaccination clinics for employees ages 65 and older in both the city and county school system while also working to vaccinate more in communities with older residents.

The clinic for Gainesville City Schools will be Feb. 4, and the clinic for Hall County Schools will be Feb. 5.

Dawn Wales, health service coordinator for Gainesville City Schools, said the clinic will be held at the Mundy Mill Academy, with 181 people expected to take part in the event.

“(The Department of Public Health) has graciously allowed us to be able to offer this to spouses and parents of Gainesville City School employees as well that meet the criteria of 65 and older,” Wales wrote in an email. “Our sign-ups are closed now.” 

Hall County Schools spokesman Stan Lewis said the school system has worked internally to let eligible employees sign up if they are interested.

Lewis said the clinic will be from 8 a.m.-noon Feb. 5 at The Oaks at Lanier College and Career Academy. He said 85 people have already been lined up, and the school system is working with principals so staff can attend at their appointment times.

“To ramp up vaccination, public health secured additional personnel and sought opportunities to vaccinate large numbers of residents 65 years of age and older, per the governor’s directive,” District 2 Public Health spokesman Dave Palmer wrote in an email. “We scheduled offsite clinics to maximize our efficiency for vaccinating people 65 years of age and older.”

That has included the Cresswind at Lake Lanier and The Village at Deaton Creek, whose residents include a large number who are eligible for the vaccine. Palmer said they are still vaccinating five days per week at the health department clinic.

“These communities assisted public health by providing volunteers to schedule appointments and handle some of the clerical duties,” Palmer wrote in an email. “This plan alleviated traffic to the health department and put less stress on our call center and online registration.”

More than 3,200 vaccines have been administered by District 2 Public Health in Hall County since the beginning of the vaccine rollout.

“It is estimated that we can vaccinate up to 100 people an hour at these events depending on staffing and vaccine availability,” Palmer wrote in an email. “We will continue to consider avenues to provide vaccinations to more people in our communities.”

Palmer said they have also scheduled clinics at:

  • St. Michael’s Church on Jan. 26

  • St. John Paul II Roman Catholic Mission on Jan. 30

  • Prince of Peace Catholic Church on Feb. 2

  • St. John Baptist Church on Feb. 6

“Appointments made at both the health department and the offsite clinics were made based on the vaccine we had on hand,” Palmer wrote in an email. “Currently, all of our vaccine is committed to appointments for first and second doses. As we receive more vaccine, we will expand our vaccination capability through more events.”

An attempt to reach a representative from St. Michael’s Church was not successful Thursday, Jan. 21.

St. John Baptist Church administrative secretary Janice Austin said the cap for the Feb. 6 clinic would be 200, and they were working to have the registration information on the church’s website by early next week. It is not a requirement to be a member of the church to register, Austin said.

A representative from St. John Paul II Roman Catholic Mission said there would only be about 100 doses, and people interested could come to the church’s office during regular business hours and fill out a form.

Prince of Peace operations manager David Schreckenberger said 300 people have registered, which took only a couple of hours to fill up.

“We have a pretty good parishioner base of over 3,000 families, but then they shared it with their friends,” he said. “So it’s not a requirement that you’re a parishioner. As a matter of fact, there are a number of people (who) are not parishioners that will be coming.”