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Local vaccine providers work to bring shots where the people are

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 9:26 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2021 at 2:09 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. could be at a turning point against COVID-19.

“We need to get people vaccinated as quickly and expeditiously as we can. If we can get 3 million people a day vaccinated, literally within a period of a few weeks we’re going to start to see a turning around of the dynamics,” he said.

Fauci says 3 million vaccines a day would be the mark the U.S. should hit.

Right now, vaccinations are down from the peak of 2.4 million a day at the beginning of April.

The Biden administration says more than 225 million people overall have received a coronavirus vaccine.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 140 million of those are first doses.

However, researchers say they’re seeing a growing number of people who are not coming back to get the second dose.

Data from April 9 shows about 8 percent have missed their second shot. That’s almost 5 million people, and it marks a big jump from the 3 percent recorded in March.

Officials believe the recent concerns over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine played a big role in people’s hesitancy to get vaccinated.

Now that federal officials have lifted the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Georgia and South Carolina are offering it again.

In fact, Georgia is shifting to that vaccine at its eight remaining state-run vaccination sites, including the one at Word of Life Church in Sandersville.

However, with demand for vaccinations falling and the contract for the Georgia sites set to expire, the Sandersville clinic and the others will be closing May 21.

The shift in demand for vaccinations is bringing some changes in approaches for local vaccination providers. Those changes include more outreach locations and more walk-in clinics.

Upcoming vaccination clinics

  • Augusta University Health is teaming up with the Golden Harvest Food Bank to vaccinate volunteers. It’s going on at the Master’s Table Soup Kitchen between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. You may still be able to sign up for an appointment at https://www.augustahealth.org/vaccine.
  • On Wednesday, Aiken Regional Medical Center will give out the Moderna vaccine at the University of South Carolina Aiken student activity center. You can stop by between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. No appointments are needed; the doses will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Augusta University Health has opened a second pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic in south Augusta at Diamond Lakes Regional Park, 4335 Windsor Spring Road. You can check state eligibility requirements at augustahealth.org/vaccine prior to registration and all registrations must be completed in advance on the AU Health website. Walk-up and phone appointments are not available.
  • University Hospital is offering a first-dose Pfizer vaccination clinic on Thursday at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1223 Laney Walker Blvd. This is open to all Georgia residents, not just church members. The hospital says “very few people” have signed up, so registration will remain open through Thursday at https://uhcs-pfizer-covid-clinic-16-plus.eventbrite.com. Walk-ins are encouraged for those who can’t register. “We are working hard to eliminate all barriers and help get people vaccinated,” the hospital said Tuesday.

Also in the news ...

  • On Tuesday, University Hospital in Augusta has 21 COVID-19 inpatients. That’s up from 18 in Monday, but far down from three months ago, when the hospital system had 132 inpatients on Jan. 27.

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