Georgia officials push COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters ahead of possible winter surges
This week’s coronavirus numbers show confirmed cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations are continuing to decline. But as winter and new potential surges approach, state health officials urge everyone who is eligible to get their booster shots.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, providers have so far administered 182,752 doses of the bivalent COVID-19 boosters that contain the original vaccine formula along with a new version designed to target the highly contagious omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the updated boosters for people ages 12 and older.
Overall, Georgia continues to lag below the national average when it comes to the number of people who are fully vaccinated and boosted against the virus.
Around 56% of Georgians are fully vaccinated. Less than a quarter have received a booster shot — compared to the national rate of 33%.
A spokesman for DPH says the agency forecasts demand for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent boosters to rise.
“With both products now being available without constraints, we expect the bivalent numbers to quickly catch up and match or exceed trends noted during the initial booster release,” he said.
Exact COVID-19 positivity rates are hard to pin down because so many people test at home, but the latest official data show cases and hospitalizations falling week over week in Georgia.
This week, DPH reports almost 5,100 new confirmed cases, and more than 700 people hospitalized for COVID-19.
Officials stress it’s important for everyone to remain vigilant about their virus exposure and get vaccinated, especially before winter sets in and more people congregate indoors.
More than 400 people die every day from COVID-19 in the U.S. on average, and according to the CDC, nearly 1 in 5 Americans are experiencing long COVID.
“The message to all in Georgia is that vaccination and boosters combined result in the best option of reducing COVID-19 cases and reducing the severity of the cases that do occur,” the DPH spokesman said.
To make a vaccine or booster appointment, visit www.vaccines.gov/search, or call the DPH Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line at (888) 457-0186.