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More than 33,000 doses allocated to Hall pharmacies so far, but some still waiting
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Northeast Georgia Physicians Group's Alix Schnibben loads a syringe with COVID-19 vaccine Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, at the Northeast Georgia Health System Corporate Plaza during the first NGHS vaccine clinic for those 65 and older. - photo by Scott Rogers

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More than 33,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been allocated so far to Hall County pharmacies, who are working through their logistical plans on how to distribute them to eligible populations.

According to Department of Public Health data, Northeast Georgia Medical Center remains the biggest recipient with 9,750 doses of the Pfizer version and 6,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine allocated. Not far behind is the Hall County Health Department, which was allocated 6,825 doses of the Pfizer version and 7,900 doses of the Moderna version.

NGHS announced seven vaccination clinics for those ages 65 and older last week, though those were filled up in roughly an hour after the announcement.

Smaller pharmacies like Lawrence Pharmacy on Broad Street in Gainesville were given 100 Moderna doses, and the Longstreet Clinic received 300 doses.

Longstreet Clinic received its first 300 doses Tuesday, Jan. 12. Close to 200 employees of the clinic were vaccinated mostly last week, as providers with medical staff privileges at Northeast Georgia Medical Center got the shot at the hospital.

“When Gov. (Brian) Kemp announced that beginning Jan. 11, individuals 65 and older as well as first responders could receive the vaccine, we began getting inquiries from patients,” said Erin Williamson of Forum Communications on Longstreet’s behalf. “Because we did not yet know the timing or quantity of our allocation from the state, we began a list for interested, eligible individuals that has quickly grown to exceed 800 people. This week, as we received notification of our first allocation from the state, we started creating a vaccine clinic schedule and have begun contacting patients on the wait list.”

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Northeast Georgia Physicians Group's Alix Schnibben loads a syringe with COVID-19 vaccine Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, at the Northeast Georgia Health System Corporate Plaza during the first NGHS vaccine clinic for those 65 and older. - photo by Scott Rogers

Anyone eligible in the phase 1A+ part of the vaccine rollout can visit Longstreet's appointment link, as no walk-ins will be accepted. The vaccine will be administered at 725 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Suite 180, entrance A.

Outside of health care workers and the residents and staff of long-term care facilities, the vaccine is also available to law enforcement, firefighters, 911 dispatchers, first responders and people ages 65 and older as well as their caregivers.

According to Census estimates, 15.4% of Hall County’s 204,441 population is aged 65 or older, which is roughly 31,483 people. 

Chris Sullens, owner of Lawrence Pharmacy, said he received the doses Tuesday, Jan. 12. He is now working up his list of 200-250 people who called him in recent weeks asking for a return call when the vaccine was in stock.

"Now I'm trying to work through this and begin the process of getting these vaccine doses administered, and I'm hoping to begin doing that within the next 24, 48 hours, something like that,” Sullens said.

Sullens said he is trying to create a way to do this in an orderly fashion that prevents a mad dash to the drug store. 

I'm trying to work through this and begin the process of getting these vaccine doses administered, and I'm hoping to begin doing that within the next 24, 48 hours, something like that.
Chris Sullens, owner of Lawrence Pharmacy
Big box stores and their doses

The Publix pharmacy on Dawsonville Highway was allocated 300 doses, but 100 Moderna doses were allocated to all of the Hall County Kroger locations and the remaining Publix locations, according to DPH data.

All of the Kroger locations told The Times they have not received the individual shipments.

Information on how to get the vaccine and make an appointment can be found at krogerhealth.com.

A representative from the Kroger on Spout Springs Road said the store hopes to get the doses by the end of the week.

Mandy Day, the lead technician at the Thompson Bridge Road Kroger, said they were unsure when the shipment would arrive. Day said walk-ins will not be allowed.

Laney Poage, the pharmacy technician at the Jesse Jewell Parkway Kroger, said the store expects the doses to arrive at some point next week.

The Ingles pharmacy on Winder Highway in Flowery Branch was granted 200 doses. The pharmacy received the doses today and is starting to schedule people for appointments beginning Thursday. People can schedule appointments by signing up at ingles-markets.com and will be put on a waiting list, and the pharmacy will reach out to those qualifying for the vaccine according to state guidelines, said floater pharmacist Kevin Johnston.

All Publix pharmacies told The Times that they had not yet received doses and were unsure of vaccine administration plans.

The Publix pharmacy at Robson Crossing on Winder Highway has not received its doses and they’re not sure when they will arrive, said technician Alisha Monroe. Once they receive the doses, the pharmacy will establish protocols for people to receive the vaccine, Monroe said.

The Publix pharmacy on Golden Parkway has not received its doses either, said a pharmacy representative. They hope to receive them sometime next week and are waiting on information from their leadership before coming out with a plan to vaccinate people.

The Publix pharmacy at Village Shops of Flowery Branch on Spout Springs Road has not received vaccines either and is working on a plan for vaccinating, said a representative from the pharmacy. 

A representative from the Publix pharmacy on Dawsonville Highway did not have information available on the vaccine doses allocated nor when they expect to receive them.

The Publix pharmacy at Friendship Springs Village on Spout Springs Road has not received doses and is not sure when they’ll arrive, but a representative said that what they know so far is that appointments will be made through a scheduling tool on publix.com.

Times reporter Anika Chaturvedi contributed.

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