This story was updated at 4:44 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, with more information.
UPDATE: For residents in Dade, Chattooga, Catoosa, Walker and Gordon counties:
Residents can access the health district's website, but unless they are a health care provider or a first responder, they can no longer register online to be notified of vaccine availability and schedule an appointment. The health district has discontinued the online appointment service and discontinued the toll free number due to a high demand of calls and low supply of vaccines.
Residents are asked to call their county health department.
Dade County: 706-657-6181
Catoosa County: 706-406-2000
Chattooga County: 706-857-3471
Gordon County: 706-624-1444
Walker County: 706-638-5577
All immunizations are by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call the local health department. If you have difficulty reaching them, be patient and persistent. Keep calling.
From the Health District:
"We have closed our online registration portal for adults 65 and older and their caregivers. If you already registered online to be notified to schedule an appointment, please know we have that information and will contact you just as soon as possible.
Please do not call the health department or show up at the health department asking about previous registrations. Be assured you will be contacted sooner or later if you have already registered.
We had to close online registration because the number of registrations we were receiving was increasing at a far greater rate than we are capable of scheduling appointments to immunize people with our limited vaccine supply.
Our online registration portal for healthcare providers, workers, and first responders, however, remains active.
You can find that portal at nwgapublichealth.org.If you use the online registration for healthcare providers, workers, and first responders, please make sure you register correctly and completely.
Vaccine supply at the moment in Northwest Georgia remains very limited. We are uncertain how long it might be before it increases enough to allow us to notify you. Please be patient. We will notify you immediately when there is adequate vaccine available for your immunization."
Eligible residents in Northwest Georgia can now call a toll-free hotline number to make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination at their local county health department.
Jennifer King, spokesperson with the North Georgia Health District, said in a news release that due to an overwhelming response to expanded COVID-19 vaccination eligibility, the offices have run into some technical difficulties. Their websites have seen an increase in traffic that has affected the online system.
Eligible residents wanting to make an appointment to receive the vaccine should call 888-881-1474.
Starting Monday, Jan. 11, COVID-19 vaccines will be provided to residents of Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties.
In the neighboring health district that includes Dade, Chattooga, Catoosa, Walker and Gordon counties, local health care workers and EMS personnel have been given the vaccine for the past couple of weeks, Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the 10-county Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District, said in a news release.
However, the district has been able to supply enough vaccine to give it to eligible residents in the Phase 1-A group.
"We wish we had enough vaccine available for everyone who wants it right now and regret we do not," Voccio said. "Until vaccine becomes more readily available, we ask for your patience and understanding. Everyone who desires the COVID-19 vaccine will ultimately be able to get it."
Eligible residents in those counties can still pre-register for a vaccine by calling their local health departments or by visiting nwgapublichealth.org.
Under Georgia's Phase 1-A rollout plan, the following residents are eligible for vaccines now:
— Staff in clinical settings such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, EMS, laboratory staff, environmental services or other similar employees
— Residents and staff at long-term care facilities who have been unable to get vaccinated
— All adults 65 years of age or older and their caregivers
— Law enforcement and fire personnel.
Residents will be able to make online reservations Monday when the site is back up and running at nghd.org.
Residents must preregister to be vaccinated and must register in the county where they live or work. Walk-ins will not be accepted, King wrote in the news release.
Contact Patrick Filbin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.