The Medical Center of Elberton has been barred temporarily from administering COVID-19 vaccines after mistakenly vaccinating teachers and other school staff without state permission. The medical center reportedly vaccinated around 40 percent of the Elbert County School District employees.
For that, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) suspended the medical center from receiving vaccine supplies for 6 months.
Medical Center of Elberton Office Manager Brooke McDowell explained to reporters that the medical center doesn’t believe it violated the state’s guidelines. McDowell added that the lack of direction on what vaccine providers should do with leftover vaccinations led the medical center to believe they could administer vaccines to individuals within 1B, the next eligible groups of vaccine recipients.
The medical center’s spokespersons stated that it has appealed the state’s suspension. It didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Georgia Star News.
Elbert County School District Superintendent Jon Jarvis told reporters that he believed that school employees should have been included in the first phase of vaccination efforts.
Subsequently, Jarvis issued a response on Thursday concerning the suspension, though they didn’t remark as to whether they agreed with the DPH’s assessment or not.
“Our goal during the COVID-19 pandemic has been to provide the best possible education for our students through both in-person and distance learning options, which we have done all but six days since the school year began in August. Research clearly demonstrates the benefits of in-person instruction and continuing to offer that option requires a number of ideas mitigation measures in place,” read the statement. “We are thankful for our local emergency management team and The Medical Center of Elberton which began working closely with our school district in September to develop a vaccination plan designed to meet the needs of our community.”
The Star News inquired with DPH spokespersons whether there were school staff who had only received the first part of the vaccine and not the other.
The medical center won’t be able to administer vaccinations until July at the earliest. Information about other places to receive the vaccine is available on the DPH’s newly-launched COVID-19 vaccine locator.
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