NORTH FULTON/FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in north Metro Atlanta, and local hospitals are planning how they will distribute doses.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is coordinating the vaccine distribution across the state. The department is expected to receive around 84,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the initial stage of distribution.
The first doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 arrived for local hospital systems Dec. 16, with Wellstar Kennestone Hospital receiving a shipment of 3,900 vaccines. Wellstar said it will begin administering the vaccine to its frontline staff at all 11 locations, including Wellstar North Fulton in Roswell, this week.
The second shipment of doses to Wellstar is expected next week.
The hospital system said employees in emergency departments, intensive care units, urgent care centers, skilled nursing facilities, adult and pediatric primary care stations will be the first to receive the vaccine, along with first responders.
Katherine Watson with Northside Hospital System said the group has not received vaccines yet, but a plan of distribution has been created for when shipments arrive. She said those plans would not be revealed at this time because they have not been communicated to hospital staff.
Emory Johns Creek is drafting its distribution plan and will release details once it is finalized, Alysia Satchel of the hospital said.
The vaccines arrive in the area as positive cases of the virus are sharply increasing. In Fulton County, the 7-day rolling average of new cases per day has risen from 219 on Dec. 1 to 377 on Dec. 14, an increase of 72 percent.
During the same timespan, cases increased from an average of 79 per day in Forsyth County to 99, a 25 percent increase.
As of Dec. 14, Fulton has reported 42,713 cases and 707 deaths. In Forsyth, there have been 7,448 cases and 68 deaths.
Statewide, the average number of new daily cases has exceeded the previous peak set in late July.