The coronavirus vaccine has arrived in Georgia

In this photo, medical professionals store the coronavirus vaccine on the day vaccines arrived in Georgia.

The coronavirus vaccine has arrived in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Public Health received the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine today. Shipments of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Coastal Georgia at two public health locations with ultracold freezers required for storage and temperature control of the vaccine.

Additional shipments of vaccine are expected later this week at facilities in other parts of the state, including metro Atlanta.

Today’s shipments contain 5,850 doses of the vaccine for individuals to receive their first dose of the two dose series. The Coastal Health District will begin vaccinating front line nurses this afternoon. A broader vaccination program for high priority individuals in Chatham, Glynn, and surrounding counties will begin tomorrow. The District will also make vaccine available to local hospitals as those facilities await their own deliveries.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey will be in Savannah tomorrow when the first vaccines are given.

Because initial COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited, the health department is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and prioritizing healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities for vaccination.

The vaccine will be given at public health clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and pharmacies and will only be accessible to individuals in defined priority groups.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to give Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization later this week. Assuming the vaccine is authorized for use by FDA, shipments of the Moderna vaccine should begin arriving in Georgia next week.

On the day the vaccine arrived, Georgia’s seven day average of new coronavirus cases was about 4,410 new cases per day. This is higher than the state’s prior peak in July when the average was 3,732 cases per day.