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Gov. Kemp expands vaccine eligibility

As the COVID situation around the world continues to unfold, the availability of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines gave people a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, there are two new developments that may make a return to normalcy possible. This week, Governor Kemp announced eligibility requirements for vaccination have been lowered, now down to individuals 55 and older, as well as those with disabilities, and individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions. At the same time, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is now being distributed in the area.

The Post-Searchlight spoke with Griffin Reynolds at Bainbridge Pharmacy about these new developments. “It’s going to be a big phase for sure. Probably one of the biggest so far,” he said of Kemp’s new COVID restrictions. As for whether or not Bainbridge Pharmacy will carry the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, “If we are able to get it from the Georgia Department of Public Health, of course, if they are willing to send it to us.” As of the writing of this article, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has not been available for Bainbridge Pharmacy to purchase. “We have a good amount of Moderna at the moment, we’re planning on a big week next week… At the moment it’s looking like Moderna and Pfizer are the only two things I can order from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Now whenever things open up from third parties, like who we normally get our medications from, I think that might be an option. And of course we’ll be getting them from multiple sources if we’re able to.”

The conversation drifted back to the Georgia government’s changing vaccine eligibility standards. “Phase two is, I believe, everyone 45 and older… so far, instead of moving forward in phases, we’ve actually just continuously added people to the current phase.”

Reynolds concluded by saying, “I want everyone to know that this vaccine is safe. I have not seen anyone have any allergic reactions to it. From talking to my colleagues that work in different hospital systems, they have not seen anything like that either,” he said. “I’m a big proponent of it. I know a lot of people are nervous about it, which I completely understand, and I would never want to force anybody into something they don’t want to do. But I think to get back to some sense of normalcy, I’m gonna call our new normal, because I don’t think we ever go back to the way it was before, once we get back to our new normal, these are the steps we’re gonna have to take to get there.”