Georgia medical center suspended from vaccine program after school district inoculation

The rural Georgia medical facility received a six-month suspension from the state-ordained program after unauthorized distribution.

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In Elbert County, GA, a medical facility is being reprimanded for administering vaccines to local school district staff members before allowed.

Read More: New Georgia senators Warnock, Ossoff promise to carry on John Lewis’ legacy

According to 11AliveElbert County superintendent Jon Jarvis said the district had discussed plans to vaccinate employees since last September before vaccines were even available. Once the shots were delivered in January, educators were given doses despite Georgia being restricted to the Phase 1a stage of distribution, which does not include educators.

Out of the 500 school district employees, 40% have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Now, more are inquiring about their turn.

“It’s hard to wear a mask when you’re trying to teach students sounds,” Jarvis told the outlet. “The vaccination for teachers, bus drivers, school nutrition workers … they should be considered in the first group in my opinion.”

Jarvis informed the outlet that teachers will now have to go through proper protocol initiated by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

“If they want it, now they have to follow through DPH and other medical providers and follow what’s been put out,” he said. “So, they don’t have the opportunity now.”

(Getty Images)

Read More: 2 Georgia educators die from COVID-19 on same day

According to the DPH website guidelines, Phase 1a+ of the vaccine distribution is currently for healthcare workers, physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, and EMS personnel. Residents and staff of long-term care facilities, adults aged 65 and older, and law enforcement, firefighters, first responders are eligible to be vaccinated, as well.

The department issued a statement to 11Alive regarding the next phase of the vaccine rollout.

“The Georgia Department of Public Health will notify COVID vaccine providers when to move to the next phase. Moving to additional phases without approval from DPH is a violation of the vaccine provider agreement. If an investigation confirms that a vaccine provider is in violation of the provider agreement, the agreement can be rescinded and the provider will no longer receive the vaccine.”

CNN reported the Medical Center of Elberton was investigated and confirmed to have given unauthorized doses and was issued a 6-month suspension. While suspended, the center will not receive any new shipments of the coronavirus vaccine. However, they will be allowed to continue to use their current supply for necessary second doses.

“It is critical that DPH maintains the highest standards for vaccine accountability to ensure all federal and state requirements are adhered to by all parties, and vaccine is administered efficiently and equitably,” the DPH said to CNN.

USA Facts recorded a total of 1,385 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Elbert Country since the pandemic began with 32 deaths.

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