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More than 11,000 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine already allocated to Hall providers
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Samir Shah, owner and pharmacist at Citizens Pharmacy in Flowery Branch, holds a box of several doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 29, 2020. He said he was pleasantly surprised when his pharmacy received 200 doses after requesting about twice as many. - photo by Thomas Hartwell

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According to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health, more than 11,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been allocated already to Hall providers even as NGHS set another record Tuesday for patients with the disease.

The main recipients, Northeast Georgia Health System and the Hall County Health Department, were set to receive 6,500 doses and 4,700 doses, respectively. The health system was treating 322 COVID-19 patients Tuesday.

NGHS spokesman Sean Couch said the Moderna doses arrived Dec. 23. Though the health system has received both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Couch said “employees don’t choose between the two at this point.”

As of Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2,705 NGHS employees have been vaccinated.

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Citizens Pharmacy in Flowery Branch and MedLink Georgia in Gainesville were also allocated 200 Moderna doses, according to the DPH data.

Samir Shah, owner of Citizens Pharmacy, said the supplies and doses arrived last week, and the pharmacy administered the first doses Monday, Dec. 28, to health care professionals. 

Shah said people seeking the vaccine are primarily health care workers in private practice and long-term care residents.

Staff members at nursing homes and long-term care facilities started receiving vaccine doses this week. Some of these facilities are choosing to partner with CVS Health and Walgreens to administer the vaccine.

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Samir Shah, owner and pharmacist at Citizens Pharmacy in Flowery Branch, opens a freezer Dec. 29, 2020, where he stores doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. He said he was pleasantly surprised when his pharmacy received 200 doses after requesting about twice as many. - photo by Thomas Hartwell


“We have pretty much almost every dose accounted for through next week,” Shah said. “We’ve just got people scheduled to either come here or we’re going there to give them.”

Shah said he purchased a pharmaceutical-grade freezer in preparation for the vaccine. To follow a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline, there needed to be a data-logging thermometer that keeps an electronic log to make sure the vaccine doesn’t exceed certain temperatures.

According to the CDC, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in a freezer between -13 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The Pfizer vaccine, however, may be stored in an ultra-cold freezer between -112 and -76 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the CDC.

Shah said the vaccine administration would be covered through insurance, and those uninsured can still receive the vaccine at no cost, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Vaccine providers who administer doses to people without health insurance can request reimbursement, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Representatives from MedLink Georgia did not return multiple calls for comment Tuesday.


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