PROTECT NORTH GEORGIA COMMUNITIES FROM COVID-19

REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THE OMICRON VARIANT WITH A LAYERED MITIGATION STRATEGY

GAINESVILLE – COVID-19 cases have rapidly increased over the holiday weekend. The number of positive cases nearly doubled in Georgia since Friday due to the fast spreading Omicron variant. The recent spike in cases mirrors the first months of COVID-19 infections.

District 2 Public Health Director, Zachary Taylor, M.D., is concerned. “Vaccination is the most important strategy available to us against COVID-19 variants, but we must also continue to use a layered approach of protection to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

A layered approach means:
• Wear a mask while indoors despite vaccination status
• Get a booster if eligible
• Wash your hands often
• Social distance when possible
• Get a COVID test if feeling sick or have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

District 2 Public Health has six FREE COVID-19 drive-thru testing locations: Forsyth, Franklin, Hall (2), Lumpkin and Union counties.

Registration is available online and is highly recommended before arriving at the testing site to greatly reduce wait times:
• Visit phdistrict2.org
• Choose the testing location
• Register on the Mako or LTS website by inputting contact information and a valid email address
• Results will be sent to the email address provided within 48 hours

North Georgia residents are at a greater risk of infection and hospitalization from the Omicron variant, many communities are less than 50% fully vaccinated. In comparison, the state of Georgia has a vaccination rate of 53%.

District 2 Public Health officials are urging communities to stay vigilant and use all mitigation strategies available to minimize the burden on hospitals, families, and communities.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and to find district-wide COVID-19 data visit the District 2 Public Health website at phdistrict2.org.

One Year Anniversary COVID Vaccine

Our Best Protection Against COVID-19

Atlanta – One year ago today, the words Georgians had waited months to hear were finally being heard: “First shipments of COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Georgia.”

Twelve months since that first small allotment of vaccine, about 6,000 doses, and the initial shots were administered, more than 6 million Georgians have received at least one dose of vaccine, nearly 5.5 million Georgians are fully vaccinated, and 1.2 Georgians have gotten booster doses.

“Countless lives have been saved thanks to the COVID vaccine,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “A year ago, the vaccine couldn’t come soon enough – it gave us hope and a path out of the pandemic. People were anxious and lining up to get their shot.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is grateful to all public health and healthcare providers for their dedication and continuing work to get shots into the arms of Georgians.

“Our COVID vaccines are safe and effective and can prevent severe illness and death from COVID,” said Toomey. “If you are someone who wanted to ‘wait and see’ about the vaccine, please don’t wait any longer. As long as people are not vaccinated, COVID will continue to spread, and variants will continue to emerge.”

Currently, the Delta variant is responsible for more than 99% of new COVID cases in Georgia, primarily in unvaccinated individuals. So far, there are only 5 reported cases of Omicron variant in Georgia, but that number is expected to increase. Scientists are still studying Omicron to determine the severity of illness it may cause and how vaccines will hold up against it.

All Georgians aged 5 and older are eligible for vaccination. Booster doses of vaccine are recommended for adults aged 18 and older who completed their first series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or two months ago for J&J vaccine.

Along with vaccination and booster doses, the CDC recommends general prevention measures such as wearing a mask in public settings, staying 6 feet from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and frequently washing your hands to protect against COVID-19. Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID should get tested.

To find a COVID vaccine or COVID testing location near you log on to dph.ga.gov. For additional information on COVID-19, visit cdc.gov.

COVID Vaccine Recommended for Children 5-11 Years Old

Vaccination, with other preventive measures, can protect children from COVID-19

Gainesville – Following the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and health districts throughout Georgia will offer Pfizer pediatric COVID vaccine to children 5-11 years old.

Vaccination will begin once DPH receives clinical guidance from the CDC; that guidance is expected in the coming days.

There are approximately 987,000 children 5-11 years old in Georgia now eligible for COVID vaccine. Vaccine providers include medical practices, pediatric practices, family medicine practices and public health clinics statewide. Pediatric COVID vaccine will also be available at pharmacies, community health centers, and schools.

The pediatric Pfizer COVID vaccine is authorized for children as a 2-dose series taken 3 weeks apart. The dose for children ages 5-11 is one-third of the dosage of the vaccine for adolescents and adults. In clinical trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among younger children.

Vaccine side effects were mild and temporary. The most common side effect was a sore arm. 

To find a COVID vaccination location, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

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Vacuna COVID Ahora Recomendada Para Niños de 5 a 11 Años

La vacunación, con otras medidas preventivas, pueden proteger a los niños del COVID-19.

Gainesville – El Departamento de Salud Pública (DPH) y los distritos de salud de Georgia ofrecerán la vacuna COVID pediátrica de Pfizer a los niños de 5 a 11 años. Esta medida, se toma siguiendo la recomendación de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) y el Comité Asesor sobre Prácticas de Inmunización (ACIP),

La vacunación comenzará una vez que el DPH reciba orientación clínica de los CDC; esta orientación se espera para los próximos días.

En Georgia hay aproximadamente 987,000 niños de 5 a 11 años que ahora son elegibles para la vacuna de COVID. Los proveedores de vacunas incluyen consultorios médicos, consultorios pediátricos, consultorios de medicina familiar y clínicas de salud pública en todo el estado. La vacuna COVID pediátrica también estará disponible en farmacias, centros de salud comunitarios y escuelas.

La vacuna pediátrica Pfizer COVID está autorizada para niños en una serie de 2 dosis recibidas con 3 semanas de diferencia. La dosis para niños de 5 a 11 años es un tercio de la dosis de la vacuna para adolescentes y adultos. En los ensayos clínicos, la vacunación fue casi un 91 por ciento efectiva para prevenir el COVID-19 entre los niños más pequeños.

Los efectos secundarios de la vacuna fueron leves y temporales. El efecto secundario más común fue dolor en el brazo.
Para encontrar un lugar de vacunación COVID, vaya a: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

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Additional Covid-19 Dose for the Immunocompromised

Georgia Department of Public Health has issued guidance in providing additional COVID-19 doses. Based on the guidance District 2 Public Health has received, we will begin working with our health departments to administer the additional dose to immunocompromised individuals as early as today, August 19, 2021. The additional dose has been approved for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines only and is not currently approved for the Janssen and Janssen (J&J) one-dose vaccine.

This is an additional dose for individuals that have specific health conditions that limit their ability to make antibodies to fight off COVID-19 with only two doses of the vaccine, this is not a booster dose for the general population. To receive the additional dose per the Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines, our health departments will require a signed doctor’s statement that includes the specific health condition a person is experiencing. To obtain the forms needed for documentation from your doctor, visit phdistrict2.org.

The additional vaccine dose should be considered for people with moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition, or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments. This includes people who have:

  • Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
  • Receipt of a solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

District 2 health departments will administer additional doses on a walk-in basis. At this time, no appointments will be required, and all additional doses will be available at all District 2 health departments.

For a location near you visit www.phdistrict2.org and click on locations.

The health department hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday 8:00 am to 7:00 pm and Friday 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. They are closed every day for lunch from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.

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