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NGHS: No plans for more no-waste vaccine clinics right now
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Louis McClure rolls up his sleeve Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, at the Northeast Georgia Health System Corporate Plaza prior to getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The health system held a second vaccine clinic for those 65 and over at the site. - photo by Scott Rogers

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On Jan. 30, the Northeast Georgia Health System introduced a “no-waste list” process that allowed people eligible under the state’s Phase 1 eligibility standards to receive first doses of unused COVID-19 vaccines.

But in recent days, users have found that the no-waste list portal located on the Northeast Georgia Health System’s website is no longer active.

The reason, according to NGHS officials, is that the no-waste list was a one-off trial event.

Due to limited vaccine supply, NGHS officials said there are no plans to hold no-waste list vaccination events at this time.

“We trialed the 'no-waste list' process during the first dose clinic we held for community members who met the rollout criteria on Jan. 30,” said Bobby Norris, vice president of operations for Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, in a statement sent to the Times. “ We don’t currently have another first dose clinic scheduled for the community, due to limited vaccine supply, but we hope to offer more dates as soon as enough supply is more consistently available.”

Norris in the statement said NGHS is evaluating the no-waste list process and are considering alternative events that can meet vaccination needs in the community and prevent unused vaccines from going to waste.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 6,903 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered by NGHS, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, Longstreet Clinic and affiliated long-term care facilities.

Of the 6,903 doses administered, 624 people have received a full vaccination, by receiving their second dose of the vaccine. In the coming weeks, 3,963 residents are set to receive a dose.

Since Jan. 11, some appointments have been available at vaccine clinics being held by NGHS for those in phase 1.

On its official website, NGHS tracks and breaks down how many people have received both first and second doses of the vaccine, as well as the number of upcoming appointments scheduled at their various facilities.

Beth Downs, a spokeswoman for the NGHS, told The Times that listing vaccination totals and appointments on their website is an effort for NGHS to be transparent about how their facilities are using their vaccine supply.

“It’s an effort for us to be transparent, as it pertains to the number of doses we have and how many are fully vaccinated versus how many still need a second dose administered,” said Downs. “Our appointment total also gives users some transparency in how much of our stock will be administered in the coming weeks.”

Vaccines administered by clinics in the NGHS system are not restricted to county or state residency. 

“If you’re coming up from Florida, are eligible and set an appointment, you can receive doses of the vaccine from any of our centers,” said Downs. “There are no geographical limits to who can receive a vaccination, as long as they are eligible to receive one at this time.”

According to Georgia Public Health, Phase 1A+ vaccine-eligible residents include health care workers, residents and staff of long-term facilities, adults 65 or older and their caregivers, and law enforcement and first responders. 

Additionally, NGHS announced that updates to its COVID-19 patient demographic data  — including a patient’s race and gender — will be updated every Tuesday, instead of daily.

The reasoning, according to the website, is that demographic percentages on the COVID-19 patient population have remained steady over the last few months.

People in the 50-59 and 18-29 age groups make up the highest percentage of positive COVID-19 cases, while people ages 80 and older make up the largest percentage of COVID-19 deaths.

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