US-NEWS-CORONAVIRUS-GA-GET

David Wilson, left, emergency room nurse at Memorial University Medical Center, receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from R.N. Lisa Lynn as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, right, looks on outside of the Chatham County Health Department in Savannah. Kemp was on hand to witness initial administering of vaccines in the state.

{UPDATE at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 7: High-volume response to the health department's phone number and website has caused temporary outages, department officials said Thursday afternoon. Beginning Friday, they will add a hotline number for scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations - 1-888-881-1474.}

Cherokee County will see its COVID-19 vaccinations availability expanded starting next week as part of the North Georgia Health Districts’s phase 1-A program, officials said.

Starting Monday, residents 65 and older, as well as law enforcement and fire personnel, will be eligible to take part in vaccination phase 1-A, with a plan to expand the vaccination phase to other demographics over the next couple of months, officials said.

“Since we began our COVID-19 vaccination campaign in our health district on December 18th, our county health departments have vaccinated some of the most critically vulnerable people in our communities,” said Dr. Zachary Taylor, interim health director of the North Georgia Health District, based in Dalton. “Now we want to rapidly and effectively administer COVID-19 vaccine to even more members of our community.”

Scheduling is required to receive Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by public health in North Georgia, which will be provided at no out-of-pocket expense. Health insurance plans will be accepted, if available.

To make an appointment at public health department in Cherokee County, eligible residents should visit the North Georgia Health District website at www.nghd.org to register online or call the health department at (770) 928-0133. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

Taylor said that the DPH is working this week to vaccinate medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities, and that the health department office at 7545 Main St., Woodstock will be the primary location in Cherokee County for vaccinations starting next week.

The over-65 phase of vaccinations is expected to take at least the rest of this month, with the expectation that the program will be expanded in early to mid-February to all adults over 31 years old, with an emphasis on those holding jobs that require face-to-face contact with groups of people. These jobs include teachers, food service workers and others. Cherokee County Director of Communications Erika Nelder said as that phase completes, the program is expected to be expanded to young adults and children.

Capt. Jay Baker, communications director for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office said the vaccine will be optional for employees, and that there has been no specific date or location set for the administering of the vaccine. He added the department is compiling a list of those who would like to take the vaccination in preparation for placing an order for the vaccine. Chief Stephen Merriflied with the Canton Police Department added that there are talks of a possible meeting next week to discuss the process of distribution for his department’s personnel.

Northside Hospital locations have already begun administering the vaccine to staff members over the last few weeks. Northside spokeswoman Katherine Watson said voluntary vaccinations started being offered to staff on Dec. 16, with Northside Hospital Cherokee employees and physicians receiving the vaccine starting on Dec. 17.

Taylor added that COVID-19 testing will still be available at the local health department office 7545 Main St., Woodstock but on a limited basis. Testing availability is Monday through Friday from 8-11 a.m., by appointment only. To make an appointment for testing, call 1-888-881-1474.

Support Local Journalism

Now, more than ever, residents need trustworthy reporting—but good journalism isn’t free. Please support us by purchasing a digital subscription. Your subscription will allow you unlimited access to important local news stories. Our mission is to keep our community informed and we appreciate your support.

Recommended for you

(3) comments

eha1205

In addition to the website being unavailable, the number for the Woodstock location rings and rings and rings. I'm presuming that the location is open after 9 am. If this location continues to be unavailable, perhaps a follow-up article should disclose the issues and suggest that other venues for administering the vaccine be considered. Florida is using Publix. Just a thought.

Mikey

I have tried numerous times today to reach the website and the phone and have been unable to sign up. we need a better way!

Bigdawg80

Please explain why the county health department give us instructions about using the web site (www.nghd.org) to register for our COVID shots. But the web page tells me I’m forbidden to use the site?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.