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Virtual town hall highlights COVID-19 vaccine news

COVID-19 vaccine developments were the focus of a virtual town hall held Jan. 21 — part of an ongoing series of Emory community conversations intended to answer questions and share updated information.

With a phased rollout of vaccines underway, Emory President Gregory L. Fenves said that Emory Healthcare has already done “an incredible job” administering vaccines to those eligible to receive them under guidelines set by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

In fact, Emory Healthcare is leading the state in the number of vaccines administered, said Jonathan Lewin, MD, executive vice president for health affairs, Emory University; CEO and chairman of the Board, Emory Healthcare.

To date, Emory Healthcare has administered more than 30,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine — about 7,600 of which have already reached eligible Emory faculty, staff and students.

Amir St. Clair, associate vice president and executive director of COVID-19 response and recovery, emphasized that Emory’s vaccine distribution strategy will adhere to state guidelines and be dependent upon the availability of vaccines.

Here are some key highlights of the presentation, which may be viewed in full above: 

  • Vaccines are now being administered to Emory faculty, staff, students eligible under Phase I-A+ of the Georgia’s Department of Public Health vaccine plan, which includes
    • Health care workers (nurses, physicians, lab techs, EMS and environmental services workers)
    • Long-term care facilities staff and residents
    • Adults 65 and older and their caregivers
    • Law enforcement, first responders and firefighters
    • Dispatchers and 911 operators
  • As vaccines are made available through Emory Healthcare, community members will be notified via external email sent from via the employee home system, a web-based portal that allows all Emory employees to make appointments and manage their occupational health requirements. (To make sure you haven’t already received it, check your junk folder.)
  • If vaccines are now available to you through other providers — including the Georgia Department of Public Health or local pharmacies — please take advantage of them.
  • At this time, all Emory Healthcare vaccinations will be administered to eligible participants by appointment only at dedicated vaccine clinics. Vaccines are not available through Emory hospitals, outpatient clinics or physician offices.
  • Emory Healthcare is administering COVID-19 vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. Both vaccines are considered effective and have been tested through the same safety protocols. Receiving either vaccine is encouraged.
  • Those required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing at Emory must still do so, even if you’ve already received a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 are still strongly encouraged and advised to receive the vaccine and continue following all safety protocols (see below).
  • To control the spread of COVID-19, vaccinations must be paired with other prevention strategies. Those who have been vaccinated must still wear face masks, practice physical distancing and wash their hands.
  • More information about Emory Healthcare vaccines — including how to schedule an appointment and frequently asked questions about topics such as safety, effectiveness and side effects — can be found

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