The next shipment of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in Hamilton County in time for residents who've gotten their initial vaccination to receive their second dose sometime next week, officials said Wednesday.
The county has yet to receive more vaccine supplies and hasn't conducted any vaccination days in a week. Becky Barnes, Hamilton County Health Department administrator, said during a news conference Wednesday more will be shipped this week and local vaccination efforts will restart next week.
A location and time for the next round has not been announced.
"We will continue to administer these doses as new vaccine shipment arrives and we will share that information with the community when we have more doses," Barnes said.
Hamilton County's first responders and frontline health care workers who received the earliest rounds of vaccines may already be getting reminder emails or text messages from the health department that the time for their second dose is approaching, Barnes said.
She said that those individuals shouldn't worry. Second doses ship separately and the state has promised that there will be enough to go around. The health department plans to announce details about the process for getting those second doses on either Thursday or Friday, Barnes said.
"At least for right now, the system is when we give second doses, it will be all second dose day and everyone will have an appointment and will have a dose. So there won't be any uncertainty about not being able to get that second dose," she said, adding that additional deliveries of first doses are expected in addition to the second dose deliveries.
The new appointment system for COVID-19 vaccinations, led by Hamilton County Emergency Management, is still in the development process, Barnes said.
To date, the health department has received 6,575 vaccine doses and given out 6,476 doses, according to county health department data Barnes shared Wednesday. Since the health department began vaccinating priority groups, they've had about 2,000 doses per week available, she said.
Other eligible Hamilton County residents and hospital workers are being vaccinated through their employers or by pharmacies contracted to administer vaccines to residents of long-term care facilities.
Barnes said the health department will have access to more vaccines once these high-priority groups are fully vaccinated.
Contact Elizabeth Fite at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ecfite.
Whitfield County Commission repeals mask mandate in county buildings as coronavirus cases continue to soar