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Public Health offers basic info on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

A draft plan from the Georgia Department of Public Health sheds some light on what the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine might look like.

District 2 Public Health provided The Gainesville Times with a draft plan Wednesday, Nov. 18, last updated Nov. 6.

Northeast Georgia Health System officials said Hall County community leaders have been collaborating for more than two months on curbing the spread of COVID-19. A subgroup has started prepping for the arrival of a vaccine. 

"There are still many unknowns about the vaccine itself – not yet approved by (the Food and Drug Administration)," public health spokesman Dave Palmer said. "Also, there are too many variables – which vaccine, storage requirements, distribution from manufacturers – still to be determined, to answer specific questions."

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health draft plan, there is no charge for the vaccine.

"The vaccines have been paid for with federal funds at no cost to the patient nor provider, which means that no one may be charged a fee for vaccine itself," according to the draft plan.

Providers, however, can charge a maximum $21.93 fee to administer each dose, but the fee must be waived if the family cannot afford the fee, according to the draft plan.

According to the draft plan, there will be three phases for the rollout. The first will have limited quantities released to certain dispensing partners "to ensure vaccination of our Tier 1 targeted populations," which include first responders, emergency personnel, frontline essential workers and more.

The second phase will have more vaccine doses released to "pandemic vaccination providers who agree to serve as mass pandemic vaccination sites, providers who serve members of Tier 2 targeted population." That population includes senior adults, patients with chronic medical conditions and more.

The third phase will make the vaccine widely available.

"(The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has shared that vaccines may be available as both single-dose and 2 dose series," according to the draft plan. "There will likely be different brands and preparations with varying administration schedules."